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I'm wondering if we use for or at in this sentence:

  1. That store sells watches for one dollar each.
  2. That store sells watches at one dollar each.

Normally, when talking about prices, I usually use at followed by the price, not for followed by the price.

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  • Your rule ("at") is simply wrong.
    – Fattie
    Commented May 18 at 15:04
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    @Fattie At least in my idiolect of AmE, "at" is not wrong here, just a little stilted. It's not unusual to say "I bought twenty shares of stock at ten dollars each and later sold them at twelve dollars each". It's mostly seen in more formal financial contexts (like talking about stock prices), but it's not strictly wrong in any context.
    – Hearth
    Commented May 18 at 20:41
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    Accountants tend to use "at" (and this is the origin of the "@" symbol), it's not so common in ordinary language.
    – Barmar
    Commented May 18 at 22:12
  • @Fattie "at" isn't technically wrong, but it's definitely unidiomatic.
    – RonJohn
    Commented May 18 at 23:52

2 Answers 2

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Yes, "for" is completely fine. I wonder where you heard this rule, because I can't think of any cases where it holds.

You can buy, sell, distribute, purchase, or do any other commerce-related verb to an item "for" a given price, and the product itself can also sell, go, or retail "for" a price.

"At" works in all these cases too, and we sometimes prefer "at" when the price is in flux, but "for" is overall much more common.

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    I think ‘at’ (or ‘@’) is more common in written receipts/invoices/etc., where you might see a line like “4 widgets @ £1.20 each… £4.80”.
    – gidds
    Commented May 18 at 20:25
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For is the way that it would most likely be expressed.

How much did you pay for that?
How much do you want for that?
I got it for a song [very little money].
They sold their house for nearly $700,000.
You sold your car? How much did you get for it?

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    In all of these, for may be a shortening of in exchange for. But that’s speculation. I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody here were to promptly disabuse me of the hypothesis. Commented May 18 at 3:41
  • PT - that hypothesis is total nonsense. Sorry it took 11 hours :)
    – Fattie
    Commented May 18 at 15:04
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    @Fattie, notice I wrote disabuse. :-) Have you any authoritative sourcing for your claim? Neither implausibility of my hypothesis nor even unlikelihood is the same as falsity Commented May 18 at 17:34
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    Not total nonsense. At the least, this usage of for is closely parallel to in exchange for. The Oxford English Dictionary actually draws attention to this parallel! The OED definition for sense II.6 of for begins: "Expressing payment, purchase, recompense, sale, etc. Cf. in exchange for at exchange n. I.1.g". (But its quotations also show that the usage of for on its own in this sense goes all the way back to old English.) Commented May 18 at 17:51
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    @Fattie twice now you've been wrong in this questions comments. Shall we go for the trifecta?
    – RonJohn
    Commented May 18 at 23:54

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