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  1. ShadeWe's Avatar
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    be worth, value, cost

    Hello everyone. I'm here to overload you with some questions again.

    I've tried to find out the difference between be worth and to cost on the internet and unfortunately I've still got some problems with the understanding.

    Situation: A child makes a drawing of its mother and then presents her with the picture of her. And it's obvious that this picture is worth a lot to its mother. I understand I can't say this picture costs a lot to its mother. She doesn't purchase this drawing.

    But then I found these examples:

    - The house must be worth quite a lot of money now.
    - One of the pictures is worth 50.000.
    - Do you know how much the ring is worth?

    Don't we need to say cost instead of be worth here? According to the situation with a child, I suppose we use "be worth" with something abstract, including a particular person's feelings. Something like: This book is worth reading. Having read this book, we experienced some feelings, and we think this book is worth reading because of experienced feelings.

    I don't completely understand value's explanation in dictionaries. They say that value is the amount of money that something is worth. Why not costs? And does value mean the same as the word price does? I think I'll get this, if I get the difference between be worth and cost.

  2. VIP Member
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    Re: be worth, value, cost

    A thing can only cost something at the time it is up for sale.

    My grandmother clock is worth about $5,000. That is what I would get if I put it up for sale. It doesn't cost $5,000, because it is not for sale. It cost (past tense) $3,000 when I bought it two years ago.

    I bought a Victorian pocket watch yesterday. It cost (past tense) $200 (that's what I paid for it). It's probably worth only about $50 (that's what I would get if I tried to sell it), but I couldn't resist it.

  3. jutfrank's Avatar
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    Re: be worth, value, cost

    The cost of something is similar to the price of something.

    The price of the clock is $5,000. = The clock costs $5,000.

    cost/price are about how much of something (usually money) needs to be given (or paid) for something in return.

    The worth of something is similar to the value of something.

    The clock is worth $5,000. = The clock is valued at $5,000.

    worth/value are about how important something is to someone.

    These two concepts of cost and worth are interrelated, and in a way they come from opposite directions, where cost comes from the perspective of someone who wants to get something (e.g. a buyer) and worth comes from the perspective of someone who doesn't want to lose something (e.g. a seller).

    Usually, this balance is more or less equal, and the value=the cost, but sometimes there is a mismatch: The clock costs more than it is worth.

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