To talk about the price of something, use the word "cost."

In these sentences and questions, "cost" is a verb:

simplepastpast participle
  • How much does this book cost? (present tense)
  • It costs $10. (present tense)
  • What did your coat cost? (past tense)
  • It cost $40. (past tense)
  • This is costing us too much money! (present continuous tense)
  • The car payments were costing us too much money! (present continuous tense)
  • How much has this cost us? (present perfect tense)
  • What will this cost? (future tense)
  • It’s not going to cost you anything to use this website because it’s free. (going to future tense)

cost of a car

That car cost him a lot of money.

It’s important to note that you can ask about the price or the cost of something in many different ways, but "cost" is a popular irregular verb.

In the next set of sentences and questions, "cost" is a noun:

  • What’s the cost for this book? (present tense)
  • The cost of the book is $10. (present tense)
  • What was the cost for your coat? (past tense)
  • The cost was $40. (past tense)

In addition to using "cost" to talk about financial matters, this word is also used when sacrifices or mistakes are made, resulting in some sort of a loss or a trade off.

  • Risky driving cost the driver his life.
  • The man’s bad behavior cost him his marriage.
  • Chronic tardiness to work cost Jennifer her job.
  • The costs outweigh the benefits of this move, so we aren’t going to change anything.
  • What’s the cost of inaction?
  • The cost of living in the United States varies from one city to another. You have to weigh the costs against the benefits.
  • There will be a cost for what they have done. (This statement might be made when a group, a company, or a country engages in conflict.)

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Date of publication: January 3, 2017