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On Word Hippo all the antonyms mean "expensive".

But I need one word as the opposite of "for free" at all regardless of the amount.

That is "on paid basis" but something more shortly

For example in the sentence, "Try it for free. Then continue on paid basis"

An adverb would be the best.


Just found the following text in A guide to paid subscriptions:

When trying to decide whether to go paid, start by taking...

So, can we use "paid" as an adverb?


Ok, I've got the point regarding "go paid", I see I can simply specify fixed price after saying about free feature (but it's not my case) and the second part is redundant in my example sentence where it's implied that the next features are paid.

Still, I would like to find the general opposite of "for free" answering to the question "how" (how to go: for free or ?) more broadly regardless of the context. "How to go" and not "what feature": free or paid. That is not an adjective.

I've also found "go for paid". For example, going for paid is the opposite of going with organic (free) advertising of website here: Paid vs Organic; Digital Marketing's big debate

Is it correct to say "... Then you may continue the next stages for paid or stop our cooperation ..." ?

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    This is a good question. I can't think of a very short answer, but "for a fee" or "for a price" might work.
    – stangdon
    Feb 9, 2023 at 19:28
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    I would like to see a bit more context to suggest a way of phrasing this. One possibility would be to say it has a nominal price/fee, if you want to emphasize the fact that the price is very low but not zero. Feb 9, 2023 at 19:28
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    An example sentence showing how you would like to use this word would be helpful. The opposite of "for free" (gratis) is "paid", for example "Having us wash your dog is a paid service, but we will clean his ears for free whenever you bring him in for a checkup." How you would exactly phrase it in a sentence would depend on the context though.
    – ColleenV
    Feb 9, 2023 at 19:56
  • "Continuing on a paid basis" would be a subscription, wouldn't it? "Try it for free, then subscribe if you find it valuable." Or do you mean "pay a one time fee after you've had a chance to try it for free"?
    – ColleenV
    Feb 9, 2023 at 20:14
  • Just to make sure I understand. For some period of time the person paying can get some of these tasks done for free, then if they like the service, they can continue getting those tasks done, but will have to pay?
    – ColleenV
    Feb 9, 2023 at 20:28

6 Answers 6

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The opposite of for free is for a fee.

The lollipops are free but there is a fee for the caramels.

Paid's opposite is unpaid. Although in some instances for free can be the opposite of paid. In your example sentence you need to use the word fee.

Try it for free. Then continue for a fee.

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  • +1 For a fee is a good choice I think.
    – ColleenV
    Feb 10, 2023 at 13:59
  • Yes, it's short. But is the same as "for a fixed price"? What about freelancing where the cost is estimated depending on each specific job? Maybe "for a cost" ?
    – elluser
    Feb 10, 2023 at 15:26
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    @stckvrw - A fee is a generalized reference to a charge (or cost). It's very general and can refer to a fixed price, a freelancing charge, or contractual amount. If you want to use for a cost you will be understood. You could also use for some money, for a price, for a charge, or for the exchange of cash. Just because it can be said, however, doesn't mean it is good communication. I would use for a fee. What is your hesitancy to use fee?
    – EllieK
    Feb 10, 2023 at 16:51
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The opposite of "for free" is "paid." This has a few definitions, including:

  1. being given money for something
  2. a paid job, activity, or period of time is one for which you are given money
  3. a paid worker, employee, etc. is given money for work that they do
  4. a paid service is one which people must pay for in order to have it
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    You mean "paid" as an adjective and not as an adverb, right?
    – elluser
    Feb 9, 2023 at 20:52
  • Yes, as an adjective.
    – alphabet
    Feb 9, 2023 at 20:53
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    "Paid" cannot be used as an adverb; you'd need to rearrange the sentence so that you can use an adjective instead.
    – alphabet
    Feb 9, 2023 at 20:56
  • But does this work for products? You can get "free beer", but I've never heard "paid beer".
    – Barmar
    Feb 10, 2023 at 15:20
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    @alphabet The adjective "paid" is the opposite of the adjective "free". But the question is about "for free" which is not an adjective
    – elluser
    Feb 10, 2023 at 15:25
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The opposite of free (or gratis) is paid (being or having been paid or paid for) or pay (requiring payment) as an adjective.

The streaming service offered two plans, a free plan with ads and a paid plan without ads.

There are very few pay toilets left in the US.

Paid can't be used as an adverb to convey the opposite of gratis.

When trying to decide whether to go paid, start by taking...

In this example go paid means to change something from being gratis to being something that requires payment. A similar construction is "to go pro" or change from being an amateur to being a professional.

I think we're having a hard time coming up with an exact match for your example sentence, because the "continue on a paid basis" is already implied by the "try" when you say "Try it for free." If something is always available free, we wouldn't say "try"; we would just say "It's free!"

Typically, we see text like:

Try it free for one month. After that it is only $5 a month.
The first print is free. After that each print is only $10.

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  • Good answer, but I would emphasise that the phrase “go paid” (or, worse, “go pro”) is actually not very good English - marketing and advertising text in American English uses this construction (“go [adjective]”) a lot, but it is grammatically incorrect (replace “go” with any other verb and you’ll see why), and so is not suitable for use in general text.
    – KrisW
    Feb 10, 2023 at 10:16
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    @KrisW There are plenty of set phrases and idioms that are ungrammatical if you swap out a word, but yes “go paid” is informal and a bit jargony. Go or turn pro is used mostly in sports journalism, which can be like a completely different language sometimes, so probably is not the tone a learner wants :)
    – ColleenV
    Feb 10, 2023 at 10:35
  • Yep, I agree about set phrases, but I don’t think “go paid” is one yet. It’s pretty new, and it is something I have seen only on advertising for web-based services. To my (British English) eyes, it’s not at all correct, and I suspect it’s a phrase that has leaked from developers to marketing. Many developers do not have English as a first language, so you can find these odd not-quite-English constructions popping up a lot in software documentation (I am a software developer). I much prefer your final suggestion: grammatically correct, and clearly explains the offer.
    – KrisW
    Feb 10, 2023 at 11:18
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    @KrisW Constructions using go as a linking verb – such as go [adjective] – are not new at all, and not particularly related to marketing. Milk can go sour, bread can go stale, her face went pale, my aunt has gone crazy, some wizards go bad (one in particular went as bad as he could go), things can go wrong (arguably adverbial), etc. It is often fairly informal in register, but it is a perfectly integrated and grammatical part of standard English. What is marketing-speak is the construction where [adjective] describes a customer’s relationship or tier (free, pro, wireless, etc.) Feb 10, 2023 at 12:18
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    @stckvrw That's a great update. I'm at work and don't have the time to address it right now, but I do appreciate that you are staying engaged with your question.
    – ColleenV
    Feb 10, 2023 at 15:42
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Even though the term does not perfectly fit your use case it may be worth mentioning that for free in the general sense means "at no cost", not only monetary; the logical opposite would be at a cost: Chaos comes for free, order comes at a cost. Wictionary makes the point that the phrase is used for unwelcome consequences; this includes, for most people, paying an amount of money, but that is not the typical meaning.

Still: It can probably be used for something that costs money. The trial version is free, the premium version comes at a cost of 20 dollars; but that's a bit unusual and stilted and borders on the ironic.

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  • "cost" is most correct, because paid et al. imply money, which "free" does not.
    – fectin
    Feb 10, 2023 at 19:57
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"Try it for free. Then continue on paid basis"

"Try it for fee" already implies that it's not normally free. Therefore, "continue on a paid basis" is redundant.

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  • Please see my second update to the question. So, can it be "continue paid"? And what the difference between "at cost" and "for a cost" ?
    – elluser
    Feb 10, 2023 at 15:15
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    @stckvrw "at cost" is used to indicate that there will be no markup, e.g. "As a gesture of good will, we can sell you a replacement at cost". "For a cost" can be used, but could be considered a harsh use of language, since saying "this will cost you" may have ominous overtones. Marketers prefer to sell benefits and indicate a price, rather than talking about costs. Feb 10, 2023 at 15:32
  • Yes, you're right - more shortly way to say "on paid basis". I know I can just rearrange the sentence to use the adjective "paid". But I'm curious about the first option
    – elluser
    Feb 10, 2023 at 15:41
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    @stckvrw btw 'more shortly' is not correct. You can say 'more concisely' instead. Can you clarify what the 'first option' is you're referring to? Do you mean 'continue paid'? Feb 10, 2023 at 15:46
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    @stckvrw btw it's "on a paid basis", not "on paid basis". Feb 10, 2023 at 16:06
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Another word for this is commercial, although this can have other meanings too. It's a bit more formal than paid is. You wouldn't use it in those specific sentences, though.

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    Pretty sure commercial is not the opposite of for free in any case.
    – EllieK
    Feb 10, 2023 at 13:54

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