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Word of the Week

Purchase can be used as a verb or a noun and is quite formal in both cases. The less formal verb would simply be ‘to buy’.

Therefore ‘purchase’ is more commonly found in written English more than in spoken English.

For example;

The results of the survey show that a higher percentage of men aged 25-35 purchased a mobile internet device last year.

As a noun, ‘purchase’ collocates with the verb ‘to make’ = to make a purchase

For example;

The majority of female students at Winston University made an online purchase in 2010.

Or in the passive:

Credit card statements show all the purchases made in the previous month.

You can also talk about ‘purchasing power’ in the following two ways:

1. The purchasing power of the elderly has increased since more retired people are financially benefiting from private pension plans.

  [their ability to buy goods and services based on how much they’ve saved / are earning]

2. The purchasing power of the Japanese Yen has only fallen slightly since the economic slump began.

  [the value of a particular currency/unit of money, measured by how much it can buy]

Another expression is to buy something on ‘hire purchase’ or HP which means to pay for expensive goods in small amounts, usually monthly installments, until you have paid the full price. In American English this is called an ‘installment plan’.

“How much was your new TV?”
“Quite expensive, but I bought it on hire purchase so I’m only paying €30 a month.”

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