I google sold for and see various interpretations.

Chicago Office Tower to Be Sold for Record $850 Million

First Wolverine Comic Art Is Sold for Nearly $660,000

Babe Ruth's watch sells for $650,108

Rare Velvet Underground Record Sold for $25k Headed Back to Auction

Arrested ship sold for $61m

Sometimes there is an is but sometimes not.

What's the difference between sold for and is sold for?

Can we use is to be sold for instead of to be sold for?

  • 3
    I summarized "headlinese" once in this answer: ell.stackexchange.com/a/17710/3281. To summary it again, "The future is usually expressed as "to" followed by a verb." So, in headlines, you can read something "to be sold for X" as something "will be sold for X". Commented May 21, 2014 at 14:43
  • 1
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about the "pseudo-grammar" of newspaper headlines, which effectively defy analysis Commented May 21, 2014 at 15:04
  • @DamkerngT.'s link is very good, and there's another good 'headlinese' answer here. Commented May 21, 2014 at 16:22

2 Answers 2


Titles and headlines are often not complete sentences. They don't follow all the rules of grammar. Often words are left out. Sometimes they use the present tense while a complete sentence would use other tenses.

To make these examples into complete sentences, you'd have to add a few words and sometimes shift tenses. For example:

A Chicago office tower is being sold for a record $850 million. Or, A Chicago office tower is to be sold for a record $850 million. (If "Chicago Office Tower" is the proper name of one particular building, then it would be, "The Chicago Office Tower is ...")

The first Wolverine comic art was sold for nearly $660,000.

Babe Ruth's watch was sold for $650,108.


"Is to be sold" is a somewhat complex construction, but it usually means the same as "will be sold".


Sold for… might be an header or an article title while is sold for… is a complete sentence.

Is to be sold is roughly equivalent to it has to be sold.

First construction is more formal and more general while the second is more common and more specific.

Is to be sold implies a desirable or expected state while to be sold expresses that something is available for sale.

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