“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.