Some people frown upon the use of "leveraging" in formal writing. What would be a good alternative to the expression:

We will be able to investigate X leveraging from the knowledge of Y.

None of the entries in thesaurus seem to neatly apply to the case. Any ideas?

5 Answers 5


Applying, using (and I suppose utilising, but frankly I'd much prefer leveraging to that), "making use of"

Your from is incorrect above, by the way. It should be "We will be able to investigate X, leveraging the knowledge of Y", and hence "We will be able to investigate X, applying the knowledge of Y" and so on.

  • Downvoter care to comment?
    – Jon Hanna
    Commented Jan 16, 2013 at 17:02
  • In line with applying and using: exerting.
    – pseudosudo
    Commented Jan 30, 2018 at 18:04
  • 1
    @garageàtrois not really, there is some overlap, but not a lot. One couldn't use exerting in the sentence in the question and have the same meaning.
    – Jon Hanna
    Commented Jan 30, 2018 at 18:19

The term I would use is "building upon."

We were able to investigate X, building upon our knowledge of Y.


Another alternative could be:

"We will be able to investigate X, benefitting from the knowledge of Y"

  • Downvoter - would you please leave some feedback? Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 11:38
  • Too late, she cried ...
    – user63230
    Commented Jul 5, 2014 at 5:23

First off, the "verb" leverage is on my list of unaccepted words. I will gladly use "getting leverage" or "taking advantage" but prefer using a verb like "benefit" or even "exploit." Actually, I believe that most people would like to use the verb "exploit" but believe it sounds wrong.

  • Welcome to the English Language and Usage Stack Exchange. Answers are encouraged to be supported by authoritative sources, and appear authoritative rather than personal opinion.
    – SrJoven
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 17:11

Leveraging was coined as the concept of using something to maximum advantage, bring into effective use, or use in a strategic way, especially something that has not been done or was not the norm. Today, the term serves a very useful purpose when used carefully and effectively. There are no words or short phrases that convey the exact sense. Nothing wrong with leveraging a powerful term, I feel.

That said, "leveraging from the knowledge of Y" is incorrect use and defeats the purpose and fails to use the power of the term. Say, instead,

We will be able to investigate X leveraging from the knowledge of Y.

or better still,

We can leverage our knowledge of Y to investigate X.

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