Pounds to dollars & grammar lesson 4

On average, things cost a little more in Cambridge than in Nebraska. A lot of places, even in the US, have higher prices than Nebraska does. My brother Jeff used to complain about how expensive cereal in Chicago was. As time passes, I’m figuring out which things cost more in Cambridge than in NE.

Clothes cost more. For the quality that I’m used to buying, I’d be paying more here. Fo sho.

Groceries cost roughly the same as in NE.

Haircuts cost more. This was upsetting. I needed a haircut. My hair was looking awful. It was real short before, and it was growing out funny. I thought, “OK, I’m going to get a really basic haircut this time. Where’s the Great Clips of Cambridge?” There is no Great Clips. A woman cannot get a haircut for $17. The cheapest haircut I could find was at this place called Carmelo’s, and I paid £19 (with a student discount) for a subpar haircut. Nineteen pounds is about $30. I’m used to paying $30 for a great haircut. I think Carmelo’s charges male students £10 for a haircut. Just so everyone’s clear, £1 is roughly equal to $1.6.

Eating at a restaurant probably costs what we’re used to paying. The bill may be a little higher than what we’re used to, but you don’t have to tip. We tipped for a while, because didn’t know that it’s customary not to tip. I always feel a little guilty when we don’t tip now. Sometimes we try to leave a pound or something.

We pay more for wine here, but nothing’s as cheap as Trader Joe’s wine.

You may have noticed a few grey words above. They’re grey because they are the chosen words for today’s usage lesson. I should always type usage lesson, but it seems vague and misleading. What usage? Anyway:

okay; OK; O.K. Each of these is okay. Although OK predominates in highly informal contexts, okay has more advantage in edited English: it more easily lends itself to cognate forms such as okays, okayer, okaying, and okayed. The term is a casualism in any event, but okay is slightly more dressed up than OK. Some purists prefer OK simply because it’s the original form. It is, after all, the most successful Americanism ever–perhaps the best-known word on the planet. (Garner 588)

subpar. This vogue word has a curious double meaning. In ordinary contexts, of course, it means “below average, not measuring up to normal standards” <a child’s subpar report card>. But in golf, the term means “below par for a hole, round, or match”–par being the standard number of strokes for a hole or course <three subpar rounds in hist last four tournaments>. Oddly enough, then, it’s desirable to be subpar in golf but not in other aspects of life. (782)

Garner, Bryan A. Garner’s Modern American Usage. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University, 2009.
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One Response to Pounds to dollars & grammar lesson 4

  1. Sidney says:

    Ah, $3 buck Chuck….there’s nothing subpar about it!

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