Price vs. Rate

01 December 2023

Hi there! This week on Ask a Teacher, we will answer a question about the difference between the words "price" and "rate."


Hello VOA Learning English,

Ask a Teacher: Price vs. Rate
Ask a Teacher: Price vs. Rate

I am confused by the words "price" and "rate." Could you please explain these words for me?

Irfan from Pakistan


This is a great question, Irfan. Both words can describe an amount of money in exchange for either goods, services or a certain amount of time spent. We use them in different situations. "Rate" has more meanings and uses as well.

Let's start with "price."


"Price" is a noun that can be countable or singular. As a countable noun, it means the amount of money that is exchanged for something. It can also be the amount asked for or paid.

The price for twelve eggs was almost $5.00.

The asking price of the house was $300,000, but it was sold for under $289,000 after negotiations.

As a singular noun, "price" is the cost, result or loss that is paid to get something else.

Amanda's loss of a flexible schedule is the price of going back to school.

We can also use "price" as a verb that takes a direct object.

Marc priced his used TV at $200.

Let's look more closely at "rate" now.


A "rate" is a cost or value per unit for services or time. This is different from the "price" of something.

For example, you hire a gardener, and their rate is $50 an hour. If the gardener worked three hours at a rate of $50 per hour, then the total price is $150.

"Rate" can also be used to talk about amounts, degrees, or speed of something in comparison to something else.

Your heart rate is the number of beats per minute.

The United States obesity rate is almost double that of Italy.

"Rate" can also be a verb that means to apply a value, worth, strength or estimation. It can take a direct object or not.

Finland, Demark and Iceland rate their happiness level as very high.

Saratoga Springs is rated as one of the best small cities in the U.S.

Please let us know if these explanations and examples have helped you, Irfan.

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And that's Ask a Teacher.

I'm Faith Pirlo.

Faith Pirlo wrote this lesson for VOA Learning English.


Words in This Story

flexibleadj. readily changed or changing

gardener – n. a person who cares for a garden

obesity – n. the state of being overweight in an unhealthy way