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If one object costs both of another object, it makes sense to say both X per Y. If an object costs each of two other objects, then does each X per Y mean that it costs one of the other two or does it mean that it costs both of them?

If it’s not ambiguous, then which one is it?

Example: Someone has two diamonds and asks a quokka seller to sell a pet quokka, but instead of saying that the quokka are one diamond each, the quokka seller says that the cost is each diamond per quokka. Is the cost one or both of the diamonds?

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  • If apples cost two bucks apiece and you have just two dollars left in your pock, then one might just possibly be able to say that the apple costs both those two dollars you have left, but in general what you've said is not grammatical for a number of reasons. You seem to have become confused about how to use the determiners both and each. I am therefore going to migrate your question to our sister site for English Learners.
    – tchrist
    Aug 14, 2022 at 20:28
  • "each diamond per quokka" is not an idiomatic way of describing the price of something.
    – James K
    Oct 27, 2023 at 23:58

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Example: Someone has two diamonds and asks a quokka seller to sell a pet quokka, but instead of saying that the quokka are one diamond each, the quokka seller says that the cost is each diamond per quokka. Is the cost one or both of the diamonds?

Your suggestion is incorrect.

You could say:

  • Quokka cost one diamond each
  • The cost is one diamond per Quokka
  • Each Quokka costs one diamond

The problem with your suggestion is that you are focusing on the number of diamonds the buyer has, which has no bearing on the price. If they had no diamonds, the price would still be one diamond per Quokka. Currency is not assigned a value based on what it can buy; goods are assigned a price in the relevant currency.

You could say:

  • Each diamond buys you one Quokka.

Although this does sound like there is nothing else to spend your diamonds on.

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