“Price” is what something costs while “prize” is an award or reward given for achieving something. Price vs. prize – knowing the difference can be confusing as some people get it backward. This is especially true when one person says it to another, and a third person joins the conversation, because that third person has likely heard the pronunciation and not the context it was used in.
Knowing the difference between “price vs. prize” is actually very simple and straightforward.
When to use Price
Price refers to the cost of something. So, when someone says “price” with an emphasis on the “ice” sound at the end, that’s exactly what it means: how much something cost.
What is the price of that watch?
Is the price very expensive on that watch?
Can you tell me the price of this watch?
The price on that watch you’re wearing looks very expensive!
When to use Prize
Prize is a reward or an award that’s won for achieving something. Notice how the “z” sound at the end is emphasized because that’s exactly where the emphasis is going to be when pronouncing ‘pri-ze’.
Did you win a prize for taking part in the competition?
Michael won a prize for finishing first in the swimming competition!
If we achieve all our targets this year, management might surprise us with a nice prize at the annual performance appraisal.
So, where’s the prize? Show us your new car.
Narrowing It Down: Price vs. Prize
Notice how price and prize were both used as a noun only in the above examples. However, they can also be used as a verb. For example:
Price as a Verb
Do not price that watch too highly or it may not sell.
Pricing your house a certain way may attract more buyers.
It should be noted that price is not to be confused with “prise” which means to forcefully move something, or to use force to get information from someone, for instance:
He had to use a special tool to prise open the lock on the cabinet.
With enough pressure, we were able to prise the information from him
Similarly, prize can be used as a verb too in certain situations:
Teachers always prize a student who is hard-working and dedicated.
This is Betty – she’s my most prized race horse.
Price vs. prize is a matter of probability – i.e. knowing which one to use and under what circumstances. For example, referring to someone’s achievement with “price” would not be correct. Similarly, asking how much something costs with “prize” would not be accurate.
In order to avoid confusion in a spoken conversation, one must always strive to put the emphasis on the correct syllable.
Price vs. Prize: Conclusion
It can be interesting to know when and how to use “price” or “prize”, or when not to confuse price with prise in specific situations. After all, it’s a matter of using the right pronunciation and context.
Merriam-Webster. (n.d). Prize. In Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary. From https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prize
Cambridge Dictionary. (n.d). Price, in dictionary.Cambridge.org Dictionary. From https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/price