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  1. Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
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    #1

    To sell something for cheap

    While watching the movie We Bought a Zoo the following line struck me as "weird":

    He is going to end up selling this place to somebody for cheap.
    I've never heard the expression "to something for cheap". Obviously I know that you can sell something for little money, or $50, but this expression just sounds weird to me. Is it considered "proper" English? I checked in the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, but I couln't find this expression. Now obviously I'm not saying that it's wrong, because I don't know everything, I just wanted to know your opinion.

    Also, can you, following the same logic, say:

    He is going to end up selling this place to somebody for expensive.
    That to me sounds even more ungrammatical.

    Thanks.

    Edit
    : I think I have answered my own question. "sell it for cheap" gives about 6 million hits on Google, so I guess it is common. Sorry, I should have done my own homework first =)
    Last edited by Chicken Sandwich; 29-Jun-2012 at 21:08. Reason: answered my own question

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    #2

    Re: To sell something for cheap

    I would say "sell it cheap."

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: To sell something for cheap

    Where did you find this, CS?* If it was spoken, there may have been a gap: 'to sell something for... [well I don't know for how little exactly, but anyway:] cheap'. Or maybe the speaker thought better of some over-emotional word (like 'for a pittance') or something inappropriately informal (like 'for peanuts'), or.... The fact is that in speech, odd expressions turn up because the speaker is self-editing as they go.

    b

    PS* Sorry, you've already said...
    Last edited by BobK; 30-Jun-2012 at 22:16. Reason: Added PS

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    #4

    Re: To sell something for cheap

    Like you, CS, I've never heard 'to sell something for cheap' and I don't recommend its use, however common Google finds it to be.

    The writer probably extrapolated the phrase from the more common informal expressions 'get it for free', 'sell it for peanuts', 'get it for nothing' and 'buy it for a song'.

    Rover





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    #5

    Re: To sell something for cheap

    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken Sandwich View Post
    Edit: I think I have answered my own question. "sell it for cheap" gives about 6 million hits on Google, so I guess it is common.
    It is surprisingly common, but I won't be using it.

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: To sell something for cheap

    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken Sandwich View Post
    "sell it for cheap" gives about 6 million hits on Google, so I guess it is common. Sorry, I should have done my own homework first =)
    As I say whenever google is mentioned, the number of google hits is no indication at all of the acceptability or otherwise of an expression.

    I have just googled "I am knitting rhubarb" (without quotes) and got 4,360,000 hits.

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: To sell something for cheap

    As a general rule, "to sell it for" is followed by a noun, usually an amount or a description of an amount, and "to sell it" is followed by an adjective.

    I am selling my house for 200,000.
    He sold his car for a lot of money.
    They can sell their cakes for a very low price.
    No-one sells a motorbike for less than $200.
    She sold her designer dress for a song.

    I am selling my house cheap.
    He sold his car really cheap.

    Note that "He sold his car really expensive" doesn't work.

    With "free", in BrE we say "I got it for free", "He gave his house away for free", "They got it for nothing", "It was free".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #8

    Re: To sell something for cheap

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    As I say whenever google is mentioned, the number of google hits is no indication at all of the acceptability or otherwise of an expression.

    I have just googled "I am knitting rhubarb" (without quotes) and got 4,360,000 hits.
    There aren't many entries in the BNC and COCA for for cheap anyway, but COCA does have a couple of examples sell..for cheap. The numbers on the internet are very different.

    "knitting rhubarb" (with quotes) manages an astonishing 447 hits in Google.

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