English for Romanians: Money

I’ve been wanting to start a new category of posts for a while and now that I’ve got a bunch of new Romanian readers, I think it’s high time to get started.

Although I am no expert on interpreting web statistics about visitors to the blog (or to my Facebook page) it’s pretty obvious that some readers are going to be Romanians and some are going to be foreigners who have some interest in Romania. I will continue to post (Romanian) “Words of the Day” as it’s a helpful technique but learning Romanian is extremely difficult and of not much use (or interest) to my Romanians readers.

Helping out with English however has two benefits. Obviously for Romanians learning the language it’s useful as English is now the international language. The other day I saw that even in Russia (specifically the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg) there were signs in English. Secondly, if you speak English just fine but are learning Romanian, applying these lessons “backwards” will help you speak Romanian as well. So it’s a win-win for everyone I think.

There are thousands of tutorials online about how to learn English. What I’m going to be focused on is the little mistakes I hear Romanians make in my day-to-day experiences here.

Today we are going to be talking about money.

Although there is a rare form of the plural (monies), it is only used in extremely limited ways, mostly dealing with high finance and economics. In daily conversations, money is always singular in English.


  • I was paid 20 dollars and it (not them) was paid in cash.
  • I got the money and it (not them) is in my pocket.
  • You’re right, 50 lei is (not are) a lot to pay for that item.
  • The money is (not are) in my bank account.

Furthermore, by extension, any reference to money indirectly is always singular in English as well.

  • Yesterday I received my salary and it (not them) is now in my bank account.
  • I counted up the coins and it (not they) came to a total of 5 lei.
  • Do I have the money? Yes I have it (not them) right here with me.

And last but not least, Romanian currency never carries an s. Therefore it always lei and never “leis”, which I have occasionally heard.