Money problems

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 March, 2006, 12:00am

A few months ago, I did a very stupid thing. I borrowed $5,000 from my elder brother, but I did intend to pay it back as soon as possible. I wanted to pay off everything I owed on my credit card. My brother is now asking me to pay back the $5,000 because he wants to get married. How can I tell him that I don't have the money?

Shall I buy a lottery ticket? How much does the lottery pay out each week? I wish I had a magic ATM that would pay out $5,000. Then I could pay off my debt and forget it.

I paid out too much for that new computer last year. I thought I was getting a bargain, but I wasn't. If I hadn't spent that money I would not be in trouble now. My brother's girlfriend hates me already, and if she knew I had borrowed money from him, she would pay me back as unpleasantly as she could. Help!

I'm sorry to be going on about my money problems, but I am really worried. Okay, I knew that there was no chance of me paying the money back quickly when I borrowed it, so it is all my fault. I don't suppose you could lend me a few thousand dollars to get me out of this situation, could you?


Money can cause big problems if you are stupid, like the young man in the story. He is going to get further into debt unless he does something sensible.

1. TO PAY BACK - means to return money you have borrowed. It also means to take revenge on someone for doing something you didn't like.

We hope to pay back our mortgage by the time we are both 40.

I am going to pay him back for saying those bad things about me.

2. TO PAY OFF - means to completely repay a debt. It can be very close in meaning to PAY BACK. TO PAY OFF can also mean to bring in a good result.

We hope to pay off our mortgage by the time we are both 40.

I think all your hard work in maths will pay off.

3. TO PAY OUT - means to give out or to spend money.

I paid out over $1,000 for my new jeans.


What do the following sentences mean?

1. I am going to pay her back for stealing my boyfriend

a) I am going to congratulate her.

b) I am going to do something horrible to her.

2. I will pay off the debt by the end of February.

a) I will return some of the money I owe.

b) I will return all the money I owe.

3. The ATM paid out $5,000, but I had only asked for $200.

a) The ATM delivered $5,000.

b) The ATM asked for $5,000.

4. You must pay back the money by Saturday.

a) You must return the money by Saturday.

b) You can keep the money until Sunday.

5. Working harder now at your maths will pay off in the exams.

a) You don't need to work so hard in maths now to do well in the exams.

b) If you work harder in maths now, you have a better chance of doing well in the exams.


Put one of these phrases into each gap so the sentences below make sense. There are more phrases than you need.

a) everything I owe on my credit card

b) for lying about me

c) at the end of the street

d) the $5,000 dad lent you

e) his debt by the end

f) at the bank across the road

g) because you have got

h) all that money for

1. I will pay her back .................. to my best friend.

2. He promises to pay back .......... of the week.

3. Your hard work has paid off .....................Grade A.

4. You were foolish to pay out ....... for those jeans.

5. When are you going to pay back .............?

6. I have to pay off the end of next month.


Task 1: 1b, 2b, 3a, 4a, 5b

Task 2: 1b, 2e, 3g, 4h, 5d, 6a

Young Post's language exercises won't kill you. Thomas and Mandie survived

Thomas Li, 16,

St Joseph's College

Task 1 is a good exercise. After reading the story and explanation, I completed the exercise with confidence. Task 2 is a little difficult. Some of the sentences can have more than one possible answer. But since we have to pick the best phrase, I spent some time re-reading and thinking about the meaning of the sentences.

Mandie Ho, 17,

TWGHs Mrs Wu York Yu Memorial College

Task 2 is more difficult. I spent more time on this exercise than Task 1. For question 4 of Task 2, I think the answer can also be (d). But the passage is well-written. Although the second exercise is difficult, I've learned the phrases.