Sometimes i am in two minds about which preposition i should use before trade terms such as FOB,CIF etc..Are the sentences below correct or weird for native speakers.

I bought theese products as FOB .

I bought theese products with FOB .

I sell our goods with payment upon letter of credit .

I need to sell this machinery as free on board (FOB ) .

We will work with them with payment during delivery.

  • 1
    These are not terms in general use. I doubt 99% of the American public knows what FOB means or how a letter of credit works. Moreover many of those who know the meaning will not what exact usage actually prevails among those who use the terms on a daily basis. FOB is an acronym meaning free-on-board, which looks like an adjective. Adjectives do not take prepositions. "Payment upon letter of credit" does not look right to me: a letter of credit assures future payment rather than effects payment. But specific trades have their own jargons. So there may be meaning in even the final sentence. Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 12:33
  • Given the specialist nature of these terms, you may get a better answer asking somewhere that operates in the English language with a more particular audience.
    – SamBC
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 12:52
  • 2
    These products were delivered or shipped FOB. No with or as or anything like that. This is an INCOTERM. You can check now and see how they are used. One doesn't "buy products FOB". They are shipped or delivered FOB or Ex-Works etc. An FOB shipping point is also used.
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 13:09

1 Answer 1


I don't work with these terms. I had to look them up. However, understanding what they mean, I can say what I think I would expect, partly informed by what I've read during research.

Firstly, FOB appears to require qualification. In international terms, it needs a port specifying. If that's a port of embarkation for the goods, it means that the seller's responsibility and liability ends once the goods are loaded at the port. If it's a port where the goods are unloaded, the responsibility and liability pass to the purchaser once the goods are unloaded. However, you might know better than me whether there is a common shorthand when the port is omitted.

I wouldn't actually expect any preposition in this case. "I bought these FOB (port)" would seem most natural. If a preposition is really needed, I guess "as" would be appropriate. The same would apply to CIF, though "with" would make sense there based on expanding the abbreviation.

It seems that various reliable sources (such as the UK government) do consider letters of credit a form of payment, presumably because they are guaranteed. However, I would think that would be phrased "upon payment by letter of credit", or "on receipt of a letter of credit". Payment methods are usually handled in that sort of context as "payment by method".

I'd never heard of "payment during delivery" before, and a quick Google doesn't find much for it. What it does find would seem to mean the same as "payment on delivery", or sometimes "cash on delivery". Which preposition (if any) you would use there would be heavily dependent on the overall sentence.

  • Thanks a lot . I realy got what i want to learn . Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 13:12

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