The Grammar GuideSpellingWhat is the difference between 'sale' and 'sell'?

What is the difference between 'sale' and 'sell'?

What is the difference between 'sale' and 'sell'?

The words sale and sell are often confused by writers. Do you know the difference?

Sale means an exchange of goods or services for currency or credit when used as a noun.

Sell means to transfer goods or provide services in exchange for money when used as a verb.

A good way to remember the difference is Sale has an A like auction, and Sell has an E like exchange money.

Out of the two words, 'sale' is the most common.



Sale and sell are easy to confuse because they have similar meanings and sound similar, but they are different parts of speech.

Sale is a noun that means "the act of selling, an event where things are being sold, especially on discount."

Sell is a verb that means "to provide goods or services in exchange for money."

Should I use 'the sale of the' or 'the sell of the'?

The right expression is 'the sale of the'. These phrases are often confused by writers.

Is the right expression 'from the sale of' or 'from the sell of'?

The correct phrase is 'from the sale of'. These phrases are often confused by writers.

Should it be 'for the sale of' or 'for the sell of'?

The correct phrase is 'for the sale of'. These phrases are often confused by writers.

Should I use 'on the sale of' or 'on the sell of'?

The correct phrase is 'on the sale of'. These phrases are often confused by writers.

Is the expression 'of the sale of' or 'of the sell of'?

The right phrase is 'of the sale of'. These phrases are often confused by writers.

What's the right phrase 'to sell out' or 'to sale out'?

You should use 'to sell out'. These phrases are often confused by writers.

Some synonyms of sale are: disposal, sale agreement, trade, clearance, discount, auction.

Some synonyms of sell are: peddle, trade, provide, auction off.

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The definitions in this article were adapted from Wiktionary.

Dictionary Definition of saleDictionary Definition of sell

Examples of sale in a sentence

Yet a couple of thousand dollars will buy it, assuming you can locate an example for sale.”
- The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza by Lawrence Block
The okapi is not for sale, nor is the platypus or the aardvark.
- Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel
Love for sale
- The Meaning of Tingo: And Other Extraordinary Words from Around the World by Adam Jacot De Boinod
The wheels happen to be InterCon format, so I've had a pretty fair sale."
- RX for Chaos by Anvil, Christopher/ Flint, Eric (EDT)
He was too nervous about the sale.
- Exile's Return by Raymond E. Feist

Examples of sell in a sentence

I still can’t ice-skate worth a damn, but I can sell it.
- Some Girls: My Life in a Harem by Jillian Lauren
Until age thirty-five I did my damnedest to sell, sell-out, get-in, get-on.
- A Graveyard for Lunatics: Another Tale of Two Cities by Ray Bradbury
And as soon as I started wearing it, my paintings began to sell.
- The Haunted Air by F. Paul Wilson
I could sell it to Copperfield for a mint.”
- Beyond belief by Roy Johansen
He’ll even sell us the furnishings.”
- Touch of Darkness by C. T. Adams; Cathy Clamp
Test yourself

Choose the missing word in each question.

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