I see they use “sold by the pound”, but can I say “sold in pound” instead? Also, they use “measured in pound”; can I say “measured by the pound”?


When using the version with in, the units should be pluralized:

Plums are sold by the pound

Plums are sold in pounds

Bulk nails are measured in pounds

Bulk nails are measured by the pound

Note: While "sold in pounds" is not wrong or ungrammatical, it's not nearly as common as "sold by the pound," which seems more idiomatic.

On the other hand, "measured in pounds" seems more common than "measured by the pound".

Behold the Ngram.

  • I think the last point is because measured takes an "in" phrase as a complement, specifying the dimension or unit. Sell probably has the price as a complement ("for" phrase) but the unit ("in" phrase) is only an adjunct – Colin Fine Aug 16 '18 at 12:10

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