The prices settle down $2 at $100.


The prices settle up $2 at $100.

Are these two words down and up both adverbs or prepositions?

What is the meaning of settle here?

I guess the meaning of first sentence would be

$102 --> $100

and the meaning of second one would be

$98 --> $100.

According to the dictionary OALD settle I look up,

there are some meanings of settle which confuse me.

For example, [8.come to rest] and [9.sink down]

How is the word settle used?

Here are some context:

settle up

Gold futures for June delivery traded mildly lower before turning to settle up $6.30 at $1,243.80 an ounce.

settle down

Even the possibility of production quotas helped crude prices shed most of their declines today and they settle down just 0.2 percent.

  • @user3169 In this case, settle is not used as part of these two phrasals. It is used here in the sense of come to rest. Settle up has a distinct and different meaning: to pay a debt. Settle down also has a distinct and different meaning: to become quieter. (Up here is used as an adverb, and not as part of a phrasal, so the OP's conclusions about meaning and usage are correct!) Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 20:08
  • Please give us some context. Are you referring to the specialist financial dealing terminology of settlement prices, settle prices etc? Or are you talking about prices varying and stabilising, where we might talk about settle down. I know of no use of settle up/down that is quantified as you show.
    – djna
    Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 20:13
  • @djna It is not possible to interpret The prices settle down $2 at $100 as a use of the phrasal verb settle down. Clearly, here the verb settle is used in its sense of come to rest, in one case up by 2 dollars, and in the other down by 2 dollars. The ellipsis of by in both sentences is what causes confusion here: The prices settle down by $2 at $100. Q: "How did the price settle?" A: "Down/up by 2 dollars." Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 20:16
  • 1
    Yes, The dictionaries I have are physical books such as Oxford, Macmillan and Collins. As I know, the definition [You use exactly with a question to show that you disapprove of what the person you are talking to is doing or saying.] you read on that website is the same as Collins. Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 8:11
  • 1
    @user9418 We have contributors from all over the world: the U.K., America, Canada, India, and everywhere English is spoken. It's best to consult several dictionaries, though. A convenient way to link to many dictionaries at once is here. Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 23:19

1 Answer 1


A non-native English speaker might easily be misled here by the seeming occurrence of the English phrasal verbs settle down and settle up.

In these two sentences, neither phrasal is used. Instead, the verb settle is used in the sense of to reach and remain at a certain level or in a certain state. (See The Cambridge Dictionary, which gives the example: The pound rose slightly against the dollar today, then settled at $1.53.)

The preposition by is elided from both sentences, and including it makes both usages clear:

The prices settle down by $2 at $100.
The prices settle up by $2 at $100.

The two examples from business journalism which you have included make this usage clear. However, you have set off the two constructions

settle down


settle up

...as if they are used in their phrasal sense here. Instead, both up and down are used as adverbs here, modifying the verb settle.

If the event is described in a Q&A format, the meaning may be easier to understand:

Q:  How did the price settle?
A:  Down/up by 2 dollars.

  • Why do those contexts from nbr.com use settle up/down + [certain amounts of money] instead of settle up/down + by + [certain amounts of money]? Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 8:01
  • 1
    They omit (or elide) the preposition by because it is "understood" by the listener to be present. This is called ellipsis. See questions about ellipsis. Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 8:08
  • Wow, I learn another important concept in linguistics. I never thought about the existence of this case before. Because of words leaved out, I felt confused. Now I feel relaxed. Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 8:29

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