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    • Join Date: Oct 2008
    • Posts: 11
    #1

    Exclamation HELP: bargain vs. sale what is the difference in this case?

    Hi everyone,

    I have this sentence: Products and services offered at a large discount are generally a(n)...
    these are the possiblities:
    1- sale
    2- bargain
    3- offer

    I know that "bargain" is the right answer. I will be teaching this on Monday and I am afraid if a student asks me why I can't put "sale" instead of "bargain". Can you tell me why please? :)

    Thank you for your help :)


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #2

    Re: HELP: bargain vs. sale what is the difference in this case?

    Yes - be a couple of jumps ahead of them!

    'a large discount' generally means a bargain; it does not 'generally' mean a 'sale'. A 'sale' is a specific event when bargains are specifically available to customers.


    'sale' has two meanings. If I walk into a shop and buy something (whether at normal or reduced price) then the shop assistant has 'made a sale' because she sold an item.

    A 'sale' , as in a store is 'having a sale', refers to a short period of time when the store reduces the prices of goods (often goods that haven't been selling well at full price) for their rapid disposal, especially at the end of a season.
    Hence, 'a clearance sale'. The January Sales, in England, is a big event.

    So - at a sale, most items you purchase are a bargain because the price is reduced.

    However, these days when shopping, one is not limited to the local shops, but can buy online, through Amazon and ebay, so that one is able to find an outlet where the item is being sold for substantially less than you might have paid if you shopped locally - you've picked up a bargain. These prices, as in Amazon, are 'set prices', 'fixed', not just lasting for a few days/weeks as in a 'sale'.

    Or if you find a practically new item for sale in the classified "For Sale" columns of a newspaper; or at (in America) a 'garage sale'; (in Britain) a 'car boot sale'**, where you can 'pick up a bargain', 'find a bargain', 'buy something at a bargain price' since the kind of goods being sold are in good if not near-new condition.

    So -Products and services offered at a large discount are generally a bargain.
    Yes - and if this is the regular price, year round, that that company charges, then they are not having a 'sale', and you did not buy it at a 'sale price'.
    Alternatively, if a store is having a 'sale', the goods on sale are a 'bargain' because they are lower than what the store was charging before. Buy them while you can, at these bargain prices, because 'sales' end.

    **where people sell at their houses for a day or two, on their lawn or out of their garage; or in Britain, drive to a specific large open space on a weekend where many other sellers gather, with all the goods in the boot of the car (though this should not be taken literally - they also have big vans full of goods also selling) and people come to buy very cheaply the things you have at home that you no longer want and are still good enough to sell.
    Last edited by David L.; 08-Nov-2008 at 19:15.

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