Sell Vs. Sale: What’s The Difference?

Sell Vs. Sale

When two words are similar, it is easy to mix them up. For example, “sell” and “sale.” They sound almost the same, and their meanings are correlated. However, “sell” is (in most cases) a verb, while “sale” is a noun. 

As such, “sell” refers to an act of bartering something in exchange for money. On the other side, “sale” is the process of selling something. Additionally, we call it a  “sale” when a vendor or store reduces their prices. 

When there is a verb “to sell” in a sentence, there is often a mention of a certain money transaction. With “sale” in a sentence, you will usually find a mention of a time or place where that sale is happening.  

How to Use Sale and Sell


The noun sale can be used in several different contexts. For example, “they specialize in online course sales” means that a certain company sells online course.

However, you can also say that “sales have increased during the past year,” and in this context, sales refer not to the process of selling but to the quantity of sold items. The bigger the sales, the more items are sold.    

On the other side, you can also say, “That shop has a 50% off sale,” which means the shop sells products at 50% of their usual price. Finally, you probably heard about garage sales, yard sales, bake sales, etc. In this context, the sale is used to describe a specific event. 


When you want to use “sell,” you can use it just like any other verb. For example, “she sells old books.” However, you can also use it as a noun. “Hard sell” is one of the ways to use sell as a noun, and it means aggressive sales technique. 

Some Common Mistakes

Since “sell” and “sale” are so similar, it makes no wonder that people get confused when to use them. For instance, some people are not sure whether it is “for sale” or “for sell.” The first option, “for sale” is the correct one. Similarly, it is “on sale” and not “on sell.” 

However, keep in mind that “for sale” and “on sale” aren’t the same thing. For sale is used when you want to say something is available to be sold. On sale is used when you want to say something is sold at a discounted price. 

Also, many people don’t know the difference between “selling price” and “sale price.” The first refers to the usual price of a certain product or service, while the second refers to a discounted price of a certain product or service.

Sell-Sale Relationship

Now that you understand the differences between these two words a bit better, it is time to see how they are connected. It is simple: when you sell something, you make a sale. In a way, you can use these two words interchangeably in some situations, but you need to do it properly. 

Another example is when a store puts a new model of shoes for sale. The store will sell several pairs of these shoes. But, if the store decides to put these shoes on sale, it will sell even more pairs because customers will be drawn by lower prices. 


If you had a problem distinguishing between sell and sale, that problem is now fixed. Sell is used as a verb in most cases, and it refers to the act of trading something for money. Sale is a noun, and it refers to the process of selling something, but it can also mean that the seller decided to reduce the prices. 

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