English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm really having a hard time to even phrase the sentence I'm looking for, sorry!

Examples would include:

  • A programmer telling someone he wrote a small piece of code directly in assembly instead of C++ for increased performance.

  • Telling someone you could have used duct tape, which would have been quick and easy, but chose fiberglass for a longer lasting solution.

In general, the person is willing to sacrifice easy task execution in exchange for increased quality in the end result.

I'm not looking for someone to write a sentence for me, I'm looking for a common way of expressing something.

share|improve this question
What form would you like the answer to be in? Are you asking for a common expression, like an idiom, or just a sentence? – Daniel Dec 12 '11 at 1:26
@Daniel Ideally, something the programmer could say in one short sentence in my first example. – Shawn Dec 12 '11 at 1:39
'Ease', not 'easiness' is the preferred noun corresponding to 'easy'. – Mitch Dec 12 '11 at 21:38
Also, help in phrasing is not particularly on topic here. If you ask 'How can one say X with the following -language- properties (not content), then it might be on topic. Or maybe you want synonyms for 'ease', 'quality' but with ...actually you haven't specified anything, what are you asking here for then? – Mitch Dec 12 '11 at 21:41
@Mitch Thanks, I knew there was something wrong there! Also, I'm not looking for someone to write a sentence for me, I'm looking for a common way of expressing something. As you can see, my accepted answer is not a full blown sentence, but rather the idiom I was looking for: Cutting corners. – Shawn Dec 12 '11 at 22:03
up vote 7 down vote accepted

To cut corners means:

to do something in the easiest, quickest, or cheapest way, often harming the quality of your work

So not cutting corners is a suitable way to express this. You could say "I don't cut corners (when doing my job)."

share|improve this answer
+1 Really like this one! – Terry Li Dec 12 '11 at 1:54
Could you say "I've written no-corners-cut SQL", for example? (I really like this one too!) – Shawn Dec 12 '11 at 2:00

Easiness is to quality what short-term interest is to long-term interest.

When we sacrifice easiness for quality, we actually sacrifice short-term interest for long-term interest.

share|improve this answer
Interesting remark, I'll see if I can use this somehow in my context, +1 – Shawn Dec 12 '11 at 1:37
If you need to explain yourself to management, you might want to use the term "technical debt" because that makes them think of money... – Tim Pietzcker Dec 12 '11 at 11:11
Actually the correlation between easiness and quality if much more complex. What you talk about (and mostly OP) is the: easiness ~ substandard approximations ~ low quality, but there is also easiness ~ simplicity ~ higher quality. I think Einsten sums it up pretty well: "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." There you can substitute easy for simple and still have meaningful thought. – Unreason Dec 12 '11 at 13:34
@TimPietzcker "technical debt" sounds a fit. You might want to post it as a separate answer here and expect at least one upvote from me :) – Terry Li Dec 12 '11 at 14:43

You can say they took a no-compromise approach, and avoided shortcuts.

share|improve this answer

"Minimizing technical debt" might also be a useful term for making this approach palatable for management.

The idea behind this is that cutting corners now will lead to problems in the future (e. g. maintainability, bugs, lack of scalability...) which will then cause higher expenses, just like you have to repay a monetary debt (plus interest).

share|improve this answer

Words like first-rate, top-notch, premium, superb, outstanding, excellent, choice, prime, select can be used to characterize excellent work.

Well-crafted and quality-made refer to work done with close attention to high quality; well-crafted ties in with craftsmanlike, "characteristic of a craftsman", a skilled person who displays great dexterity.

Painstaking and diligent characterize careful work habits. Painstaking is an adjective meaning "carefully attentive to details; diligent in performing a process or procedure".

share|improve this answer
Does Painstaking have a negative connotation? – Shawn Dec 12 '11 at 3:06
All of the book links from ngrams that I looked at show painstaking with positive connotation. Note, some of the synonyms (precise, meticulous, careful, scrupulous) from Roget's may be of interest too, particularly meticulous. – jwpat7 Dec 12 '11 at 3:17

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.