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Last updated at 16:30 BST, Tuesday, 29 May 2012

What's the damage?


Helen has been to the farmer's market to buy some food. Jen uses the phrase 'What's the damage?' to ask how much the food cost. There is a problem though – someone has been helping themselves to the food.

a broken window

How much would it cost to repair a broken window?

The script for this programme

Jen: Hello, I'm Jen – and with me in the studio today is Helen!

Helen: Hi!

Jen: Helen, just before we get started – did you get the chance to go to the farmers' market for me? I didn't have time to go myself.

Helen: I did, I chose some things I thought you'd like… Here we are… I bought some fresh apples, some crunchy carrots, a load of onions, a loaf of fresh bread and a jar of delicious honey.

Jen: Brilliant – thanks so much for doing that for me, I can't wait to try it. So what's the damage?

Helen: Damage? I don't think there's any damage really. Although I suppose one of the apples is a little bit bruised and I nibbled the end of one of the carrots but it'll be fine if you just cut it a little bit.

Jen: I don't mean damage to the food. The phrase "what's the damage?" can be used to ask how much money you owe someone for something.

Helen: So you wanted to find out how much you owe me for the food?

Jen: That's right – let's hear a couple of examples of the phrase in use.

  • What a lovely meal – I think we should split the bill two ways though, so what's the damage?
  • Thanks so much for fixing the brakes on my car. What's the damage for the work you've done?

Helen: So you could say "what's the damage?" in a restaurant or a cafe?

Jen: That's right; you might use the phrase amongst friends when you get a bill, or you might hear it if you are paying a workman to do something. Generally we use it when we don't know how much something is going to cost or if the price has been estimated beforehand.

Helen: Like when I went to the market for you today!

Jen: Yeah, I didn't know how much it would cost so I asked you "what's the damage?" So how much do I owe you?

Helen: £12.50.

Jen: £12.50?! That's pretty expensive.

Helen: It's worth it when you look at the quality of the food – it's very good.

Jen: Alright then, here you are – £12.50.

Helen: And here YOU are.

Jen: Let's have a look then… Apples, yum… Well, they do look a little more bruised than you mentioned…

Helen: Yes, sorry, I dropped the bag…

Jen: Look at the carrots! You said you'd nibbled them, but there are only the tops of them left! I can't cook with those!

Helen: I was peckish, sorry.

Jen: At least this jar of honey looks good… it's empty!

Helen: Sorry, sorry! It looked so delicious that I couldn't help it!

Jen: Well, I think you should give me my money back. I'm not paying for food that's already been eaten!

Helen: OK, what if we go out for a meal and I pay?

Jen: Hmm… OK…

Later on…

Jen: I'm stuffed! The apple and honey pie was really delicious.

Helen: Here's the waiter with the bill. Now don't forget, this is my treat after eating all of your food. Ooh, er… This is embarrassing.

Jen: Is it expensive? What's the damage?

Helen: It's £40 for the meal but I've just remembered…

Jen: What?

Helen: I left my purse at the farmers' market! Can you pay for us?

Jen: Argh!


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