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I came across two different sentences, from The Wall Street Journal, both containing the word "prices" but with different prepositions, "of" and "for".

Here are the two sentences.

  • Audi Cuts Prices of Spare Parts in China
  • Starbucks to Raise Prices for Packaged Coffee, Other Products

Which of these use the correct preposition?

If both of these use the correct preposition, then on what basis are the prepositions chosen?

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@RegDwigHt Thanks for the edit. Could you please explain your edit on placing of the word "are" in the last sentence? I am just curious to learn. –  Sagar Jul 28 at 10:50
    
you should ask on English Learners about the placement of 'are', not here. –  curiousdannii Jul 28 at 10:51
    
@curiousdannii: Please look at RegDwigHt's edit –  Sagar Jul 31 at 5:27
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@Sagar, the placement of are in your original post was correct. Reg's edit was incorrect in this case. The question should either be "If both of these use the correct preposition, then on what basis are the prepositions chosen?" or "If both of these use the correct preposition, then can someone tell me on what basis the prepositions are chosen?" And never mind the rudeness of some guys on this site. Half the guys who ask someone to go to ELL are the ones that should go there in the first place. –  user82373 Jul 31 at 11:02
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@Sagar, yes. The wrong one is "...on what basis the prepositions are chosen?" The right one is "...on what basis are the prepositions chosen?" The former placement of "are" should be used in a statement, not a question. Apologies to Reg. I mistook Sagar's edit for Reg's. –  user82373 Jul 31 at 11:19

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

According to Ngram the preposition of is more used, especially with the singular form of price, but both prepositions are acceptable.

It appears that there is not much different between the two preposition used to indicate the price of something.

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Thank you for showing corpus evidence! –  curiousdannii Jul 28 at 10:52

Take a look at this link for better understanding on usage of certain prepositions.

The definition of "OF" as a preposition-

Of

Used for belonging to, relating to, or connected with:

Examples of "of" as a preposition-

The secret of this game is that you can’t ever win.

The highlight of the show is at the end.

The first page of the book describes the author’s profile

In context of this definition, look at your first sentence.

Audi Cuts Prices of Spare Parts in China

The preposition "OF" is used here to indicate that the price belongs to/is used in relation with prices of spare parts.

Now, the definition of "FOR" as a preposition-

For

Used to indicate the use of something:

Some examples of "for" as a preposition-

This place is for exhibitions and shows.

I baked a cake for your birthday.

I put a note on the door for privacy.

She has been studying hard for the final exam.

And now, looking at your second statement-

Starbucks to Raise Prices for Packaged Coffee, Other Products

Ask yourself- Starbucks is raising prices for what? Intuitively, "for" is a better fit here than "of".

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hi, do you think that to raise prices of vs for Packaged Coffee can convey a different meaning? –  Josh61 Jul 28 at 10:42
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I suggest there is a very slight difference in feel; "of" when you're talking about a specific thing. "for" when you're talking about the corporate, general, "product". Say you and I worked in a coffee shop and we were talking about raising the price of the Medio Espresso. it's unlikely we'd say "let us raise the price for the Medio Espresso". Since it's a "specific thing" we'd say "raise the price of the medio espresso". At the head office if they were talking about a whole category of products .. it's more "raise prices for milk products", say. –  Joe Blow Jul 28 at 10:56

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