English as a Second Language/Usage of the word "deal"


Hello Evona,
I hope all's well with you. If you're not too busy, I have a question for you. Can the words “deal” and “bargain” be synonyms? In other words, are the following sentences grammatically correct and do they make sense?
1. For that price, the suit is a bargain.
2. My computer was a real bargain.
3. My house was no bargain.
4. I got no bargain when I bought my house
5. For that price, the suit is a deal.
6. My computer was a real deal.
7. My house was no deal.
8. I got no deal when I bought my house.

I am so thankful to you for taking the time to help me. And I'm very sorry about having asked you a previous question twice. I have never done that before, and will never again.

Hello, Glen,

Yes, the words "bargain" and "deal" are close synonyms. If you will take a look at http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/bargain, you will find it listed there. However, there is no such thing as a true synonym--that is, each word has a slightly different feeling, so that the use may be just a little different. "Bargain" is an older, slightly more formal word, while "deal" comes from modern slang,which means that it may change its meaning more easily with the passage of time, or that one day another slang word may easily replace it. The word you would choose would depend on the context, and the person to whom you are talking.

For instance, if I were talking to my brother, I might say, "Boy, I got a real deal on that one!" If I were speaking to the Rector of my university, I would probably say, instead, "That printer is more economical than the other brand. It's quite a bargain." This has to do with "register," which means the language chosen in relationship to the audience to which it is directed. While I don't speak Korean, I do know that there are at least two strongly differentiated registers, one used for people older and higher in rank than oneself, and another used for people of one's own age or younger, and that it can be insulting to speak to someone in the wrong register. I am not as familiar with Chinese, but I would assume that there must be something similar in that language. You will find a little blurb about English register at http://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/register.  I would also suggest that you do a Google search for "English language register" and take a look at some of the things you find there.

I don't remember seeing the subject of register addressed in any of the English-language textbooks I have seen. However, register is very important in Spanish, which I use constantly here in Mexico. I remember that people found it hilarious when a native English speaker addressed their pet parrot in the formal register used with older, higher-ranking persons, dignitaries, etc., rather than the "familiar", used for pets, children, and people younger than oneself. The subject of register in Spanish had not been taught in the speaker's Spanish-language courses.

If you use too informal a register, you can sound disrespectful; if your register is too formal, you can sound cold. This is a very important aspect of language-learning, too often neglected in teaching.

I hope you will find this helpful.

Prof. Evona York

P.S. Please don't worry about the duplicate question. I just thought it was probably a technical error caused by the AllExperts site. I am certainly not in any way offended.

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Prof. Evona York, UABC


I can help with almost anything having to do with English as a Second Language, including grammar and syntax, the basic skills (reading, writing, listening, speaking), etc. I am happy to help with proofreading and advice, but will not do homework for people. I CAN HELP WITH SHORT QUESTIONS, but because I am swamped with translations at the moment, I DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR LONG ONES. I'd like to help you make your English even better. The goal of a good teacher is to teach the student TO LEARN HOW TO LEARN. So if you want to know what a word means, first look it up at Merriam Webster’s Learners Dictionary at http://www.learnersdictionary.com/pronex/pronex.htm. This is a wonderful site, especially for people who are learning English as a Foreign Language. After you have done that, if you still don't understand the meaning, write to me and tell me what the dictionary said, and what you think it means. I will be glad to help you after you have tried for yourself to find out the meaning. This process will help you grow in your already-excellent English. All the best, Prof. Evona York


I taught for a number of years at the Autonomous University of Baja California, am now retired from teaching, but working fulltime as a translator, and MOU Academic Liaison (academic exchange). Many years as translator for "Revista Electrónica de Investigación Educativa" redie.ens.uabc.mx. Online magazine of the Institute for Educational Research. Present: Translator and MOU Academic Liaison: UABC Department of International Alliance and Academic Exchange. Many yeart tutoring and private classes English a foreign/second language. Designer and teacher of interlinguistic EFS/ESL language; presenter of Experimental EFL Method, FEULE. Estensive experience in song translation English, Spanish, many other languages.

"Revista Electrónica de Investigación Educativa" redie.ens.uabc.mx Many articles online. Many examples of my work, both as a researcher and a translator, are online. Translator: English version, biography of Frida Kahlo sold at The Blue House museum, Mexico City. Translator: “Glutatión, la clave para tu salud” by Jimmy Gutman MD, kudo.ca communications, Canada. 2014

Graduate of the School of Languages, Autonomous University of Baja California. Holder of Cambridge University's Certificate for Overseas Teachers of English.

Past/Present Clients
Translator for "Revista Electrónica de Investigación Educativa" redie.ens.uabc.mx.Online magazine of the Institute for Educational Research. Present clients: Translator and MOU Academic Liaison: UABC Department of International Alliance and Academic Exchange. Translator: English version, biography of Frida Kahlo sold at The Blue House museum, Mexico City. Translator: “Glutatión, la clave para tu salud” by Jimmy Gutman MD, kudo.ca communications, Canada. 2014

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