Let’s say that you owe someone $15. Using Australian currency, the most efficient way of expressing this amount of money is with a $10 note and a $5 note. If you gave that person a $10 note and 10 50c coins, how would you apologise? Would you say:

Sorry I can’t express this amount of money with a smaller number of notes or coins

Just roles off the tongue doesn’t it? Maybe this:

Sorry I don’t have smaller change

But that sounds wrong. That’s what I would say if I paid for my coffee with a $100 note.

Sorry I can’t pay you more efficiently

Is “efficient” the word I’m looking for? I feel like there’s a better way to structure this sentence.

1 Answer 1


Sorry, I don't have any larger bills

Sorry, I ran out of $5 bills or couldn't find a five.

Where note could be substituted for bill -- whatever is common speak for paper money.

  • 1
    Agreed. The person lending you the money probably doesn't want a long-winded explanation. Being brief, honest and apologize for the inconvenience is more than enough. +1.
    – VTH
    Commented Jul 30, 2018 at 7:11

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