Using estar (not ser) + preposition a with fluctuating quantities and prices

When we use the preposition a in order to talk about fluctuating quantities and prices, we need to use the verb estar (not ser).
Read and listen to these examples:

La libra estará a 1.14 euros.
The pound will be worth €1.14.

Un kilo de queso está a 15 euros.
A kilo of cheese costs 15 euros.

El dólar estaba a 0.75 libras.
The dollar was worth £0.75.

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Un kilo de queso está a 15 euros.
A kilo of cheese costs 15 euros.


La libra estará a 1.14 euros.
The pound will be worth €1.14.


El dólar estaba a 0.75 libras.
The dollar was worth £0.75.


Q&A Forum 1 question, 1 answer

StuartC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

What other things?

Hola,

Could you provide a few (more) examples of the use of the verb 'to cost' something?

What sorts of things does it cover (or could you use it for everything)?

Everything fluctuates in price, so are we talking about things that we concentrate our daily lives on (sometimes obsess about!): stock market/ currency, houses, petrol, food, drink? Things we think of as fluctuating day to day?

Gracias,

Asked 1 month ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Stuart,

When we use the verb "estar" + a in Spanish meaning "to cost", we can be talking about very different things/items, from petrol to bananas. Because, as you were saying, prices change all the time, we can use it with anything really.

The nuance of this usage of "estar + a" is to express a price at that moment of speaking, so to ask or say what something costs that day. If I go to the grocery I could ask the man/lady:

¿A cuánto están los plátanos [hoy]? 

(How much do the bananas cost [today]? / What is the price of the bananas [today]? How much are the bananas [today]?)

He/she would reply:

"Los plátanos están a 3 euros el kilo."

(The bananas cost [today] 3 euros a kilo.)

The difference between using the more literal "cuesta/cuestan" and using the more idiomatic "está/están a..." is that the latter gives that nuance of "its price today".

I hope this clarified your doubt. I will extend the lesson a bit so there is an extra explanation reflecting this clearly.

Gracias y saludos.

Inma

What other things?

Hola,

Could you provide a few (more) examples of the use of the verb 'to cost' something?

What sorts of things does it cover (or could you use it for everything)?

Everything fluctuates in price, so are we talking about things that we concentrate our daily lives on (sometimes obsess about!): stock market/ currency, houses, petrol, food, drink? Things we think of as fluctuating day to day?

Gracias,

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