1

Are the following usages correct in BrE?

£1.01

  1. One pound one.
  2. One pound and one pence.
  3. One pound one pence.
  4. One pound and one.
  5. One one

$1.01

  1. One dollar one.
  2. One dollar and one cent.
  3. One dollar one cent.
  4. One dollar and one.
  5. One one

€1.01

  1. One euro one.
  2. One euro and one cent.
  3. One euro one cent.
  4. One euro and one.
  5. One one
0
4

(1), (2) and (3) are the most common. (4) is borderline and (5) is definitely wrong.

If it was a common price like £1.20 then "one pound twenty" or "one twenty" would be by far the most common but with it being the more awkward amount of £1.01 then it makes adding the "pence" more likely.

However in colloqual spoken English it is fairly rare to say "pence". Brits would say "p" (pee), and a likely phrasing of £1.01 is "One pound one p".

4

In the UK, 'pence' is the plural of 'penny'. One penny, two pence. You will sometimes hear 'one pence' said, but it sounds ignorant to many people. This is opinion-based, but I would say that for all those currencies, 1, 2, and 3 are OK, 4, is rare, and 5 very rare or nonexistent for e.g. £1.01 (Maybe 'one oh one' though). You may hear £4.99 said as 'four ninety-nine'.

4

I can speak for contemporary British usage. The others not so much.

£1.01 is a fairly uncommon amount to hear in a shop, because prices near the pound are usually £n.99 or £n.95 etc., in which case "n ninety-nine" etc. is de rigueur.

Recently though, a law was introduced whereby plastic bags have to be charged to the customer at 5p each. When this is added to a purchase of 99p, £1.04 would no longer be uncommon and colloquially usage would usually be "one oh four".

Context would make the units apparent. The purchaser would "know" this was a small amount and therefore around the one pound mark, so "one oh four" would be automatically understood as being £1.04.

Exactly the same applies to £1.01, which would be voiced "one oh one", or perhaps "one pound oh one".

You might hear "one pound and one p" (if the vendor wanted to be particularly precise), as "p" is standard for announcing the units of pence.

We hardly ever say "pennies" or "pence". It's practically always "p" pronounced "pee". Despite the opportunity here for ribald jokes, this is practically unnoticed by contemporary Brits.

£101 would be spoken "a hundred and one (pounds)".

10
  • 3
    @AntoniaA Careful. it's lowercase "p" and not uppercase "P" which is the abbreviation for "pence". And never for "pounds", which is "£". (Sorry, I thought that was clear from my post.) "Pence" is the word for the financial quantity 2p+. "Pennies" is the plural of "penny" and would be used for a quantity of the actual coins. "I have 5 pennies in my pocket" means you have 5 coins all of which are pennies. "I have fivepence in my pocket" means I have a quantity of money amounting to 5p, which may be all pennies or, e.g. may be one 5p coin, or two 2p coins and a 1p coin. Mar 23 at 16:42
  • 1
    @AntoniaA By "Georgian textbook" does that mean it dates back to the Georgian era in British history, or is it published in the state of Georgia? If the former, then this means old pennies, whose abbreviation was "d". New pence only came into being in the 1970s. Mar 23 at 16:46
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    @PrimeMover: Sounds almost exactly analogous to use of "penny/pennies" and "cent/cents" in the USA. The penny is the coin denominated one cent. Except that it seems there is no British equivalent to that sentence, because there's no singular of pence parallel to "cent" being the singular of cents?
    – Ben Voigt
    Mar 23 at 17:14
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    @BenVoigt The singular of "pence" is "penny". The singular of "pennies" is also "penny". But one refers to the monetary quantity and the other refers to the coins. And when you say "one penny", the monetary quantity and the coin are (to a certain level of linguistic approximation) the same thing. The fact that in American English the word "penny" actually means "cent" is a confusion which will need to be resolved separately. Mar 23 at 17:18
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    @PrimeMover: In American English the word "penny" does not have the same meaning as "cent". "Penny" is the coin, "cent" is the monetary quantity.
    – Ben Voigt
    Mar 23 at 17:24
1

When talking about money, 'p' after a coin or amount sounds the same as the letter 'p' /piː/.

50 pence coin ✔︎ (formal) or 50p coin ✔︎ (colloquial)

20 pence coin ✔︎ (formal) or 50p coin ✔︎ (colloquial)

I had £1.01 (one pound one p) in my change jar. ✔︎

I had £1.01 (one 0 one) in coins. ✘ *Not said in British English

-3

I would refer to £1.01 as one pound and one pence, or another example £3.27 as three pounds and twenty seven pence.

Learners of English may well meet a wide range of native English speakers, from all sorts of backgrounds and class, and so it may well be that there is no correct answer.

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  • 2
    Haven't said "pence" for almost 5 decades. It's "p" and always has been, wherever I've been, ever since we were 3 months into decimalisation. Oh, and it was 50 years ago. I remember, I was there. Mar 23 at 8:20
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    Surely even in 1971 the 1p coin was called a "new penny". According to mirror.co.uk/money/rare-most-valuable-1p-coin-7944008 : "The original design - with 'New Penny' on the back and the Arnold Machin portrait of the Queen on the front - was used unchanged for 10 years".
    – rjpond
    Mar 23 at 8:22
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    The decimalised penny was called a 'new penny', not 'a pence'. 'One pence' is wrong. Mar 23 at 8:24
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    @MichaelHarvey Wrong or not, I contend that it just wouldn't be heard in the first place. "Pee" is ubiquitous. But then if people are using "one pence" (which I confess is actually far more likely to hear than "one penny"), then that's what is being used and arguing "wrongness" is less relevant. Mar 23 at 8:27
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    "The use of pence rather than penny as a singular ... is not regarded as correct in standard English" (Lexico). The OED entry has recently been updated and comments on this usage: "frequently regarded as a solecism".
    – rjpond
    Mar 23 at 8:33

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