Sure, But Is it Cost-Effective?


A couple of suggestions from colleague Dave Arnesen:

1) “Cost-Effective.”


It’s supposed to mean that you get lots of “effect” for minimum cost…. maximized “bang for the buck.” But the term is lame because it’s tame…and way over-used.

Like “innovative,” it’s one of those adjectives you throw in because it sounds good and, what the heck, why not? In business writing, both PR and advertising, we’re almost all guilty of it. We can’t really say that the product is “cheap,” and we can’t stick our neck out and position the pricing specifically against the competition. We could and should be talking ROI. How about “cost-assertive?”

When was the last time you heard anyone ask a salesperson “Is this product cost-effective?”

Cost-Effective Money

2) “Total Solutions Provider”

So, is this opposed to a “Partial Solutions Provider?”


“River.” As in “a river of new ideas.”

Also in style: Dennis Miller-type metaphors used in technical articles (with presumably a little less political agenda).

Example: “plow through coding tasks like a monster truck at a tea party.”

(Credit to Joel Spolsky, Fog Creek Software – Inc, 5/07)


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6 Responses to “Sure, But Is it Cost-Effective?”

  1. Paul H Says:

    Nomination: “Clearly”

    Whenever a speaker or writer uses “clearly”, it is probable that it is NOT clear, that there is no consensus around the point, and that it is unlikely that anything of the sort would be readily stipulated by a significant segment of the audience.

    “Clearly” signals an argumentative crutch, and usually a rubber crutch at that.

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  3. Dave Says:


    Thanks for the nomination. Good point. “Clearly” is in the same category as “Without question.”

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