¿CUANTO CUESTA?

ASK AND TELL THE PRICE

In Spanish, when we want to find out the price of something there are three basic ways of asking:

¿Cuánto cuesta/n? It would be the equivalent of asking "how much does this cost" in English and it basically indicates that you want to know the price and on the basis of the price you will/will not buy it. You have singular and plural forms depending on whether you are buying one item (a wallet) or more than one item (shoes).
¿Cuánto vale/n? It works in the same way as ¿Cuánto cuesta? You have singular and plural forms depending on whether you are buying one item (a wallet) or more than one item (shoes).
¿Cuánto es/son? When you use this construction you may be indicating your wish to purchase the item regardless of the price. You have singular and plural forms depending on whether you are buying one item (a wallet) or more than one item (shoes).
¿A cuánto está/n? We normally use this expression in Spanish in a shop where prices are likely to change from one day to the next, for example, a fruit shop (where prices vary according to season and availability)

To tell the price of something you can either use the verbs cuesta/cuestan or vale/valen. You can also choose to omit them since it is clear from the question what we are referring to.

Examples:

¿Cuánto cuesta este libro? (Cuesta) 1.500 pesetas.
¿Cuánto valen estos pantalones? (Valen) 10.000 pesetas.
¿Cuánto es? (Son) 350 pesetas.

 

 

REACCIONES (Reactions to the prices)

On being given the price of something we can react by saying it is too expensive or quite cheap. The way we do that is by using some expressions together with the adjective which expresses these feelings. They can express positive or negative feelings depending on the words chosen:

Es/Son + un poco (a little bit – negative) + caro (expensive)
    bastante (quite – positive/negative)   barato (cheap)
    muy (very – positive/negative)    
    demasiado (too – negative)    

Examples:

Conversación A Conversación B
   
a) ¿Cuánto cuesta este libro? a) ¿Cuánto cuestan estos zapatos?
b) (Cuesta) 300 dólares. b) (Cuestan) 100 dólares.
a) Es demasiado caro. a) Son muy baratos.

¡QUE + ADJETIVO!

Another way of expressing reactions to being told the price of something is by using the word ¡Qué! plus the adjective which expresses the feeling. It would the equivalent of saying "How + adjective!" as in "how cheap!" or "how expensive!".

Examples:

Conversación A Conversación B
   
a) ¿Cuánto cuesta este libro? a) ¿Cuánto cuestan estos zapatos?
b) (Cuesta) 300 dólares. b) (Cuestan) 100 dólares.
a) ¡Qué caro! a) ¡Qué baratos!

 

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