Quick answer
"Cheap" is an adjective which is often translated as "barato", and "Is it expensive?" is a phrase which is often translated as "¿Es caro?". Learn more about the difference between "cheap" and "Is it expensive?" below.
An adjective is a word that describes a noun (e.g. the big dog).
1. (inexpensive)
a. barato
The store had a clearance sale and everything was really cheap.La tienda estaba de liquidación y tenía todo muy barato.
b. económico
It's sometimes cheaper to fly than drive.A veces resulta más económico ir en avión que en coche.
2. (of poor quality)
a. barato
The apartment was furnished with cheap furniture that wouldn't last.El apartamento tenía muebles baratos que no iban a durar nada.
b. vulgar
You've been tricked. This watch is only a cheap imitation of a Rolex.Te han engañado. Este reloj no es más que una vulgar imitación de un Rólex.
c. ordinario
That perfume makes me feel cheap.Ese perfume me hace sentir ordinaria.
3. (vulgar)
a. de mal gusto (jokes or comments)
John seems to love telling cheap jokes.A Juan parece que le encanta contar chistes de mal gusto.
b. rastrero (behavior)
He is well-known for his cheap tactics to get ahead.Es famoso por sus tácticas rastreras para medrar.
4. (easy)
a. fácil
The script was full of cheap laughs.Era un guión de risa fácil.
5. (stingy)
Regionalism used in the United States
(United States)
a. tacaño
My cheap uncle wouldn't even pay for our candy.El tacaño de mi tío ni siquiera nos pagaba las golosinas.
b. agarrado (colloquial)
He is so cheap that he invited me to his wedding reception on condition that I paid for my meal.Es tan agarrado que me invitó a su boda con la condición de que me pagara mi propio cubierto.
c. codo
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
Regionalism used in Central America: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama
(Central America)
Regionalism used in Mexico
My boss is really cheap; at Christmas he gave everybody a piece of gum.Mi jefe es bien codo; en Navidad nos regaló a cada uno un chicle.
An adverb is a word that describes a verb, an adjective, or other adverbs (e.g. to run quickly, very tired).
6. (inexpensively)
a. barato
Houses are going cheap this year.Las casas se venden baratas este año.
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Is it expensive?
A phrase is a group of words commonly used together (e.g once upon a time).
1. (general)
a. ¿Es caro?
Is it expensive? If not, I'm going to buy it.¿Es caro? Si no, lo voy a comprar.
b. ¿Está caro?
How much is the cake? Is it expensive? - Yes! It's much cheaper in other stores.¿Cuánto cuesta el pastel? ¿Está caro? - ¡Sí! En otras tiendas cuesta mucho menos.
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