1

Let's say my friend has bought a phone. And I want to buy the same phone, not from my friend, but at a phone store. Is natural to ask my friend how much is the phone? Would it be more natural to ask him how much does the phone cost? I think that you ask the question hom much is something only when you are at a store asking the shop assistant about the price. Being a non-native English speaker it is hard to tell whether the question how much is something sounds natural when you are asking your friends.

2

Indeed, if you turn to your friend and ask him

How much is this?

It sounds like you are asking him its price, as if he were to sell you. A better approach would be

How much did you pay for this phone?
How much was it?

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