Posted by Lewis on August 14, 2003
In Reply to: How much did you want to spend? posted by James Briggs on August 13, 2003
: : : Some English books say "How much did you want to spend today?" is used in shops.
: : : Why do the clerks use "How much do you want to spend today?"?
: : : Thanks in advance.
: : When I call to order some flowers, to be delivered to my Mother for her birthday, for example, the clerk usually says something like "How much did you want to spend?" That's because I've simply presented the clerk with a general desire to send some nice flowers but I haven't specified which kind or how big the bouquet should be.
: : Similarly, if you walk into a men's shop and you want to buy a suit but you don't specify anything about the suit you want, the clerk needs to know whether you want an expensive suit or a cheap one (a "value priced" one), as well as style, size, etc. He or she will then show you a range of suits available in your size, style, and in your price range.
: In Britain it's widely 'do' and not 'did', although both are acceptable and neither would raise an eyelid. I regard them as interchangeable.
Just a minor point - shop workers rarely ask how much somebody wants to spend - florists and good clothiers are notable exceptions.