Is"Picked as an each - sold as an each" grammatically correct?

I came across this sentence somewhere and it struck me as sounding odd.

  • 1
    You sometimes see terminology similar to that in a store, when referring to pricing. More context is needed in order to guess what is intended here.
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 4 '18 at 1:06
  • @HotLicks I've seen "sold by each" on a few occasions. Second your need for more context.
    – John Feltz
    Jul 4 '18 at 1:17
  • @HotLicks yes - this sentence was encountered in the context of pricing goods. Jul 4 '18 at 3:05
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    I would assume it's storekeeper jargon for "counted as individual units when shipped, counted as individual units when sold". Vs being counted in bags, dozens, etc. Using "each" is kind of a back-formation for using the abbreviation "$0.30 ea" when labeling.
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 4 '18 at 12:01

Since "each" is a pronoun, it's not technically ungrammatical. There is precedent for putting articles before pronouns (e.g., That person's a he, not a she.). That said, it is very unusual wording. I've never heard or read that or anything like that before. I've never seen an article used before "each," so while it is technically not ungrammatical, it is unnatural, not vernacular.

  • 2
    I've seen "priced by the each" or "sold by the each" many times.
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 4 '18 at 1:20
  • "Sold/priced by the each" is a colloquial way of saying "sold singly". It may be valid by way of popular usage, but is grammatically meaningless. Each gets its meaning from the collection to which the object belongs - a thing can't be "an each" on its own. By that token, OP's "as an each" has no sense and sounds awkward. Jul 4 '18 at 1:46
  • 2
    The most common way of phrasing this that I've encountered is "sold individually." Jul 4 '18 at 5:03
  • @JasonBassford Indeed -- and why they opted for a longer, (and imo more awkward) sounding phrase is what I found strange. Jul 4 '18 at 15:34
  • 1
    @JasonBassford "by the each" has a slightly different connotation than "sold individually". "by the each" contrasts with "by the pound (kilogram)" or "by the pint (liter)", meaning that the price is per item, rather than weight/volume. Apples can be sold individually (as in, not in bags or other containers), but still priced by the pound.
    – R.M.
    Oct 2 '18 at 15:21

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