BLP A-Z of Learning English: «P» for… many things!

BLP A-Z of Learning English: «P» for… many things!

Karen Thorley


One of the main places we see the letter “p” (the small letter, not capital) is in British prices, or sterling, meaning pence: 1 penny,  or 1p (but not one pence) 2 pennies, 2 pence or 2p.

100 pence = 1 pound (£)

£2,10p  = “2 pounds, 10 p” or “12 pounds, 10 pence

£0.30 = 30 p or 30 pence

Other words related to money: quid, dosh, notes (bills in US), coins, cash,  fivers, tenners,

Also:  Priceless =something too valuable to be able to give it a price:

Penniless = someone who has absolutely no money

Here’s a short crossword to help you learn the words here and in the video.

2. Spelling:

2 (i) “Ph” is used to create the “f” sound, as in photo or elephant…

2 (ii) Or we have the silent “P” as in  psalm, psycologist etc…

Both the “ph” spelling and silent  “p” spelling originate from the Greek

3. Abbreviations

P.T.O = Please Turn Over” (the page)

P.S. = “Post Script” – After the end of a letter, when you add an afterthought

P = parking.

NB: Many people say “a parking”. This is wrong as “parking” is uncountable. So, “parking” = many different spaces, usually in the street:  “There is a lot of parking around the football stadium / Is there much parking near your house? “

Whereas car parks are countable. They are often closed, indoors or outdoors, often private, but not always, and often paying, but not always:

There is a big, free public car park in the city centre / Does your company have its own car park? No, there’s a car park for the top management and visitors, and there is plenty of parking round the building on the street for employees. 

4. Expressions and idioms

4 (i) “Mind your P’s and Q’s” = To be well behaved, on your best manners, to be quiet, respectful and obey the rules.

“I went to meet my boyfriend’s parents and had to mind my p’s and q’s to cause a good impression”

4 (ii) “Like two peas in a pod” = Exactly the same, often used for identical twins

Ok, the word is “pea” the round, green, vegetable, but the pronunciation is “p”

“My twin brother and I are identical, we’re like two peas in a pod

4 (iii) To spend a penny: To go to the toilet, which used to cost an old penny

“Where’s Jane?” Oh she’s just gone to spend a penny

4 (iv) Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves

= If you are careful with small amounts, you will eventually save more in the long run.

4 (v)Not a penny to /his (my/your etc) name” = penniless

“Look at Jim, he used to have a big house, holidays abroad and a BMW – Then his company went bankrupt, and now he hasn’t got a penny to his name.”

“When we first got married we didn’t have a penny to our name.”

5. THE FAMOUS Tongue twister ABOUT: Peter Piper:

(This is only the first two lines, but it is very illustrative)

I hope you have enjoyed our mini-tour of the letter “P” !!!  

Q is coming up next 😊

Then you can “Mind your P’s and Q’s”

Leave a Comment