Is it correct to use the expression "consolidate cost" when you add cost figures in a specific period of time? The context is a description of what a piece of code is doing:

consolidate cost over several periods

I've found the following definition of consolidate:

to bring together (separate parts) into a single or unified whole; unite; combine: They consolidated their three companies.

But a Google search for "consolidate cost" only returns 12 600 results which is usually an indication of a wrong usage.

  • Better, "consolidate the costs" (21,200 results): "#Obamacare is going to consolidate the costs" - Twitter; "We also had to fully consolidate the costs associated with administration" ...
    – Kris
    Jan 15, 2013 at 9:39
  • 1
    Try "consolidate costs", plural, and you'll get very different results; in accounting one consolidates two or more things from different categories under one heading. The result, however, may be described as consolidated cost, in the singular, or consolidated costs, in the plural. Jan 15, 2013 at 9:39
  • @StoneyB In the context, it's a verb, not an adj., right?
    – Kris
    Jan 15, 2013 at 9:40
  • Consolidated, with the d, is a past (passive) participle, which is both a verb and an adjective, just as in French. Jan 15, 2013 at 9:42

1 Answer 1


As far as business is concerned, to consolidate cost is not an incorrect usage, only that as StoneyB suggested in the comments above, it would be more appropriate to use the plural of cost since you will be bringing together different cost figures for a specific period of time.

However, the term costs usually refers to various accounts and if you wish to be specific you could say, for example, to consolidate salary costs or consolidation of transport costs.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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