BILL, TIP, FARE, FINE, and FEE – What’s the difference?


When you have finished having dinner in a restaurant and you want to pay for it. You are raising your arm to call the waiter and say this to him:

“Could I have the bill, please?”

You pay:

• electricity bill
• gas bill
• telephone bill

After paying the bill you can leave a small amount of additional money to the waiter, it’s a ‘tip’.

‘Fare’ is the price you pay to travel by bus, train, taxi, plane, etc.
The woman is paying the bus fare to the driver

‘Fine’ is the money that you have to pay as a punishment when you have done something illegal or broken a rule.

• In a car, a little child must be seated in a safety chair, if not, the driver can expect to be fined.
• If you don’t take a ticket when you park your car you will have to pay a fine. If you don’t return the book to the library, you will have to pay a fine.

‘Fee’ is the money you pay to a professional: doctor, lawyer, etc.
• the money you pay for school.
• the money you pay to enter a place: cinema, museum, etc.
• the money you pay to join something like a tennis club.

Fill in the blanks with BILL, TIP, FARE, or FEE.

1. I’m going to the reception desk to pay the _____.
2. Meanwhile, you should give the porter a big _____.  This man has been very helpful.
3. The man has robbed a shop. If he found guilty, he faces six month in jail and a heavy _____.
4. A : How will I cross the Channel? 
    B : Try the Eurostar; it’s so comfortable. Their standard _____ starts from £49. 
5. Private schools _____ are expensive. 
6. Sorry, sir, but the speed limit is 110 km per hour. You will be _____ for speeding.
7. Look at this huge phone _____! I’m sure Sonia has been talking with her boyfriend when we were out. 
8. I’m going to see lions and giraffes with the children. 
9. A : You look angry. What happened? 
    B : I just have been _____ for parking in a prohibited area. 
10. On some planes, children under 14 travel half _____. 

Answers: 1. bill, 2. tip, 3. fine, 4. fare, 5. fees, 6. fined, 7. bill, 8. fee, 9. friend, 10. fare


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