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Can I use them in expressions like these:

  • The bill came out to five dollars.

  • How much did the bill come down to?

I checked on the web, but did not find many matching results

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3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I'd agree with @tchrist that come out to would be OK, but you should only say it if there are a large number of items on the bill, to the extent that it would be difficult for someone to estimate the cost without seeing the enumeration. Here are the only attestations of this use in COCA (query is [come] out to [m*]).

3 THAT COMES OUT TO 13.5 MILLION CANS AND 1
4 THAT COMES OUT TO 1,140,000 . THAT 'S 1
6 IT COMES OUT TO 287,000 MARGARITAS WORTH OF 1
7 IT CAME OUT TO 150 MILLION KILOMETERS . 1
9 FUNCTION COMES OUT TO 0.002 +/ 0.005 , 1
10 FIGURES COME OUT TO 17 1/2 PERCENT MORE 1
11 FEET COMES OUT TO 31 ARCMINUTES , THEN 1
12 COST CAME OUT TO 175 BILLION DOLLARS A 1
14 , COMES OUT TO 1,062 PER WORKING DAY

The phrase come down to usually is applied to a complex situation or important outcome hinging on a large number of possible factors. For example,

After three rounds of competition, who will be the winner? It comes down to Jang-eun and Seong-Chan, the two remaining contestants.

Now if somehow there was a complex and highly disputed restaurant bill, you could say something like:

The bill comes down to three dollars worth of beer nuts that nobody can recall ordering.

which would be a short way of saying:

The amicable negotation of the bill comes down to the resolution of three dollars worth of...

The bill is somewhat higher than three dollars, but the final disputed item is for three dollars. So comes down to wouldn't work as a way of expressing a final total.

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No, you cannot use comes down to there, only comes out to, provided you mean that it is a synonym of works out to. Normally, the out is omissible.

All three of come to, come out to, and work out to mean the same thing: “to amount to (a stated sum or number)”, which is OED sense 48d of the verb come.

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what do you mean by work out to? can you give me an exmaple –  Dude Dec 22 '12 at 17:01
    
@MichealCorleone Answered in the answer. –  tchrist Dec 22 '12 at 17:14
    
many thanks!!!! –  Dude Dec 22 '12 at 17:17
    
Okay, there aren't many instances, but in total, it came down to does occur, and it certainly doesn't raise my hackles. I see no more of a problem down than with out or up in such usages. –  FumbleFingers Dec 22 '12 at 23:02

You can’t say either of those, but you can say ‘The bill came to 5 dollars’ and ‘How much did bill come to?’

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Actually Barrie, saying that some the bill comes out to something or other is a normal North American synonym for works out to. You know how we like to lengthen phrasal verbs around here. :) –  tchrist Dec 22 '12 at 17:09
    
For me, comes out to describes rather more specifically the result of an arithmetical calculation. I know that's what a bill is, but in referring to a bill, speakers are normally more concerned with the size of the final figure, than with how it is arrived at. –  Barrie England Dec 22 '12 at 17:42
    
I agree. It works that way for me, too. –  tchrist Dec 22 '12 at 17:45

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