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Additional Exercise

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In English there is an odd word IOU which means a signed paper with the letters IOU, followed by a statement of the sum mon­ey, constituting a formal acknowledgement of debt, for example, IOU £ 5 John Smith. What do these letters stand for? Reread the end of the dialogue aloud and the answer will be clear.



A. "Well?"

"I want to see a ring."

"What sort of ring?"

"A diamond ring."

"Ah! I presume it is for a young lady?"

"That's right."

" Oh well, we're only young once. Have you a finger fitting?"

"No. I never thought of that."

"It's usual. Perhaps your young lady would like to come in and try some of these on for herself."

"She can't. She doesn't even know I'm taking her this."

"In that case would you like to take one of these cards and try it on first so there'll be no mistake? You'll get an idea of the size that way."

"No. How much are they?"

"This one is twenty-five pounds and that one thirty-five pounds and that one fifteen pounds, and this one here is fifty-five pounds."

"Are they dinkum?"

"The diamonds, you mean? Yes. [...] My dear young fellow, do you think any jeweller is going to answer that any other way? Don't you know anything about rings?"


"And I take it you want this for an engagement ring?"


"How much do you want to spend on it?"

"I've got thirty-five pounds between me and next pay­day and I don't want to spend more than thirty pounds."

"You're honest."

"I don't know whether I'm honest or not, but it's all I've got, and I want to get something decent. Listen, my girl's sick in hospital — damn sick. I'm catching the first train to the mountains in the morning to visit her, see...? And if I find out later on that you've sold me a brum3 I'll come back and break your neck, see?"

"I see. On the mountains, you said? Ah! Then we must sec she gets something specially nice. Not that one. You can’t afford at that price, and / can't afford to sell it I'm less. But now this one... This one. It's marked thirty-live pounds. You can take a look at the ticket yourself. It’s quite a nice stone, and a nice selling. Just the one stone, you'll notice, so that's all you're pa'ying for. It's a nice little ring. Good taste, and your girl won't be ashamed to have anyone look at it. You can have it for thirty pounds.

"I'll take it, and don't forget what I said." "I won't forget. If it doesn't fit or if she doesn't like it bring it back.and we'll think about getting something to replace it. Take this finger card as well, just in case." "Thanks. Thanks."

(After Say No to Death by D. Cusack)


1 The action is laid in Australia. Janet Blackeley, a young girl,
is dying of tuberculosis. Before her illness she was engaged to Bart
Templeton. Now Bart wants to marry Janet. He has come to a jewel­-
ler's to buy a ring.

2 dinkum (Austr. si.) — genuine, real

3 brum (= Brummagem) (dial., si.) — counterfeit, cheap and showy


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