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I am searching for the right word to use in the process of a salesman telling a price to the client beforehand, and to which the client can respond with yes or no. Google and Bing translators told me this is called a price quote or a quotation.

Now the problem I run into, is that quote and quotation are also used in the context of a citation and it is very unclear to me when to use quote and when to use quotation (or can I use them interchangeably?).

Do I send the client a quote or a quotation, and which of both does the client receive? And can I use the word quote, or should I always use price quote?

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You should note that "(price) quote / quotation" and "(price) estimate" have different connotation in business.

In business, "price quote", "price quotation" or just "quote", "quotation" are synonymous. If there is context around the word, you don't have to use "price".

"(Price) Quote" or "(price) quotation" is usually used for instant or short-term sales (trade) for various products (such as mass-produced products or items) for which estimation of a price is not complicated. For example, they are broadly used for financial products such as foreign (currency) exchange, stocks, and other related derivatives such as forwards and options. When you give a quote or quotation, you can't change a fixed price offer.

However, "(price) estimate" is used for a project or products that are not made frequently and repeatedly. You need to consider various unforeseen developments and other cost factors.

For example, when you are a realtor (real estate agent), you usually get quotes or quotations for a house which has already been built. However, for apartments or houses that are being built, chances are higher that you will get an estimate rather than a quote as their final price could be changed.

I worked in a financial industry and traders (F/X, bond, stocks) all use just "quote", especially if you are a trader who executes tens of transactions in an extremely short time span. Who would want to use "quotation" which is longer and more difficult to pronounce?

But you have to note that each industry has a unique way of calling this "price estimation" and a possible answer to your question is It depends.

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    Very detailed explanation. Just to get it right (in general); quotes are for existing products with (temporary) fixed prices. Estimations are for low volume, often net yet fully developed products? – Neograph734 May 1 '16 at 13:52
  • @Neograph734 I would say quote or quotation is for "almost" fixed price and estimate is for non-fixable price, Again, it depends on which industry and product you are referring to. – user24743 May 1 '16 at 13:54
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I don't know if I've ever heard quotation in this context, but I did some Google searches, and was surprised to find plenty of examples of price quotation.

I wonder if it's a regional thing? Perhaps price quotation is more common in some areas, or in some businesses.

At any rate, the ngram doesn't look the way I guessed it might.

Still, in the U.S., I'd stick with price quote, or simply quote for short.

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  • Wow, that's quite a nice tool. Perhaps it used to be quotation but people have gotten lazy over time ;) I'll stick to quote. – Neograph734 May 1 '16 at 11:08

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