The house is to be sold in/for auction.

Which preposition is appropriate?

Is it in or for?


  • This graph may demonstration what phase is more commonly used nowadays and in the past: goo.gl/eEkwGT. – Damkerng T. Dec 5 '15 at 9:25
  • but what happens when those prepositions are applied in the OP's example sentence? :) Which would be correct? – Usernew Dec 5 '15 at 10:02
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    @Usernew - I would call "in auction" incorrect. The house is for sale at auction or up for auction are the standard phrases. – stangdon Dec 5 '15 at 12:39
  • Thanks @stangdon but have a look at my answer, the last example from Wiki. – Usernew Dec 5 '15 at 12:51
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    @Usernew - Yes, but that's a different usage. The house was sold in the auction is not the same thing as The house is in auction. – stangdon Dec 5 '15 at 16:03

The more common preposition to use would be "at," and "by," and "in."

If you are using the word "auction" as a verb:

The house is to be sold by auction.


The house is to be sold at (an) auction.
The house was sold in the auction.
This is a list of the most expensive cars sold in auto auctions.1

For would be wrong in your context.

The house is to be sold for auction.

can mean that the house is being sold to fund an auction.

Have a look at the Ngram: enter image description here

enter image description here

1. Wikipedia

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I'm afraid none!

More common use is 'at'

The house is to be sold at auction.

More natural IMO would be..

The house is put up for auction

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    "Put up for auction" is fine, but "at auction" (without any article) sounds wrong to me. – 200_success Dec 5 '15 at 7:31
  • I first thought of it but I again thought that the article rule for a noun does not depend on the clause it follows. Would you mind explaining why the former is fine and the latter isn't? @200_success – Maulik V Dec 5 '15 at 8:38
  • You can put the article an or leave it out as the word auction is used either as a countable or uncountable noun. – Khan Dec 5 '15 at 15:36

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