Cheap shot

“The cost wasn’t cheap.”

It feels a little odd, doesn’t it?


I think it’s because in English, we want something to be said only once — and this says something twice, sort of.

Cheap means low-cost. So this is like saying The cost wasn’t low-cost.

Cost can be high or low, or minimal, or exorbitant, or any number of other indicators of extent — but we already know it’s a cost, so it’s awkward to restate it.


  • The acquisition wasn’t cheap.


  • The cost wasn’t small.


  • The blogger wasn’t reasonable.

But NOT The cost wasn’t cheap.

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