a 1990 base price


You use that to refer to someone or something already mentioned.
The biggest increase was on the cheapest model, the CRX-HF. That car had a 1990 base price of $9,145.

Do I correctly understand that:
1) 1990 (it probably means the year the car was produced in) acts as an adjective and modifies base price ?
2) indefinite article means that the car had more than one base price and a 1990 base price - just one of them. There probably were also a 1985 base price, a 1987 base price, a 1992 base price, etc

Thank you
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    1990 is irrelevant here. The choice is between "the base price of x dollars" and "a base price of x dollars." "It has a​ base price of x dollars" is the preferred option.

    That house has an asking price of x dollars. The asking price for the house is x dollars. I'd hazard a guess and say that this type of construction is idiomatic.


    Senior Member
    American English
    Cars have thirty-seven thousand different prices. :D

    The "base price" is something like the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) for the model without options. The "sticker price" is the MSRP for that model with a particular set of options, so called because it's on a sticker in the window as the car sits on the lot. The "full delivered price" is the sticker price plus taxes and a bunch of other things the dealer charges because he feels like it. :eek: The "invoice price" is the price the dealer is billed for the car, which almost certainly is not the price the dealer actually pays for the car. There are others.

    None of these have the slightest relationship to what the consumer will pay for the car. :(

    The point being, the example seems to have been taken by the dictionary from an article on car prices, and "base price" is an easy way to compare across years without adding a bunch of noise to the data. So there is a 1985 base price, but that would be for a different car - the 1985 model (if they even made one that year). As velisarius says, it's the idiom, not the different years, that makes the indefinite article correct.
    Last edited:


    Thanks all,

    just to be sure that I understand correctly...:
    There are a lot of basic prices - $1, 2$, $100, .... $9,145, etc. And "a 1990 base price of $9,145" - is just one of them.
    or in other words:
    The car has a base price of x dollars. The base price for the car is x dollars is the same as I have a number of apples, this number is X apples. The number of apples that I have is X apples

    Am I right?
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    English - England
    I would see 1990 in "1)That car had a 1990 base price of $9,145." as part of the adjectival phrase "1990 base". Removing this phrase gives us, "a price of $9,145" Thus the use of the indefinite article is correct as $9,145 is just one price amongst many (taken from the database of 1990 prices.)
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