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What's the damage?

Posted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:27 pm
by Stevenloan
Hi everybody! I know "What's the damage?" is used to ask how much you have to pay for something. Do native speakers only use "What's the damage?" at a supermarket? Is this question also applied at a cheap eatery, a high end restaurant, a clothing store and a veterinary clinic?

Your answers will be greatly appreciated.

StevenLoan

Re: What's the damage?

Posted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:53 pm
by Erik_Kowal
I could see myself asking that question in any or all of those situations except in a high-end restaurant. And that's only because I'd be too cheap to eat there. :D

Re: What's the damage?

Posted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:40 pm
by Phil White
As Erik says, they would all be possible. It depends more on the speaker than on the circumstances. "What's the damage?" is very colloquial, and most people have boundaries as to where they use colloquial language, but those boundaries vary from person to person. If you are not confident in a particular situation (many would not be in a very high-class restaurant), then you probably wouldn't use a colloquialism like this. If you are absolutely comfortable, then you might.

A colloquialism like this differs from mild swearing, where situational taboos are far stronger.

Re: What's the damage?

Posted: Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:54 pm
by Stevenloan
Erik and Phil White : Thank you both so much for your help. I really appreciate it.

StevenLoan

Re: What's the damage?

Posted: Mon Mar 18, 2019 7:55 pm
by Shelley
Of course, this idiom might become ambiguous if you asked it of your garage mechanic, or your home insurance claims adjuster, after an accident or disaster. Just sayin'.

Re: What's the damage?

Posted: Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:20 pm
by Stevenloan
Shelley : Thanks for your answer and opinion.

StevenLoan

Re: What's the damage?

Posted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:01 am
by BonnieL
While it's not something I'd say, I have heard people ask, "What are the damages?" Plural.

Re: What's the damage?

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:42 am
by Stevenloan
BonnieL : Thanks a lot for the version you provide.

StevenLoan