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What are alternative ways to express that something that was added to a thing doesn't add any value to it?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

You could say:

The Thing contributes nothing of use/value to That.

or maybe:

The Thing provides no benefit to That.

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You could say it's superfluous, or surplus to requirements.

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There's an idiom which captures the meaning. It is: 'to gild the lily'

However, use with caution as it just doesn't mean that "something that was added to a thing didn't add any value to it". It sometimes, is also interpreted as: " that something also made something beautiful worse in trying to make it better."

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I didn't know that idiom, thanks for share it :) I will accept the @FrustratedWithFormsDesigner answer since it adapts better to my scenario, but I'm upvoting your answer :) – Diego Jan 19 '12 at 15:02
Gild the lily - means to spoil something by trying to make it better when it's already good enough.. A good idiom, but yet it's not what Diego needed.. – Desert Jan 19 '12 at 15:59
please, add some examples of usage – Jhonny D. Cano -Leftware- Jan 19 '12 at 16:15

The other term commonly used in lean manufacturing is muda. Muda (un-usefulness) is one of three types of waste which are recognized in lean manufacturing; the other two are mura (unevenness) and muri (unreasonableness).

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Hmm. I'd question whether these terms could reasonably be called part of English usage outside of Japanese-influenced manufacturing facilities. – FumbleFingers Jan 19 '12 at 15:00
The Toyota Production System is the model for lean manufacturing. Lean manufacturing has, consequently, borrowed words from the Japanese language. It's a technical vocabulary spoken by a small population, but plainly not Japanese. If you Google [ muda mura muri ] you'll see many, many industry articles in English which use these terms. – MετάEd Jan 19 '12 at 15:04
I've never heard these terms. I accept your statement that they are widely understood in this one particular field, but if you used them in other contexts, few would know what you were talking about. You could, of course, use them and give an explanation of what they mean and where they come from, and perhaps start a "movement" toward their greater acceptance. But you can't just use them without explanation and expect to be understood. – Jay Jan 19 '12 at 15:42
@Jay Yes, I completely agree. Since the OP's topic, added value, is the central focus of lean, I felt these new words should be highlighted anyway, on the chance that the OP is getting started with lean and should learn these terms. – MετάEd Jan 19 '12 at 15:51

The phrase bells and whistles refers to superficially attractive elements which are non-essential or non-differentiating, especially in items which compete on multiple features (e.g. software, finished goods, excursions, even compensation packages):

The redesign doesn't address the flashlight's weak bulb or flimsy switch. It merely adds a clock that displays Greenwich time and a third case color, and other bells and whistles.

This phrase has been particularly popularized since the rise of consumer electronics, but English has many colorful words for superfluous ornamentation or decoration: frills, or more informally, doodads, jazz, gewgaws, falderol, or gimcrackery for example.

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