What is the difference between "do more harm than good" and "has more bad to it than good"? Do they literally mean "have more disadvantages than advantages"?

Are they informal?

  • 1
    Harm is transitive. It's not the intrinsic qualities that are being assessed, but the effects those intrinsic qualities will have.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 10:31
  • What about formality? Can both expressions be used in formal contexts?
    – user121256
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 21:52
  • I've not heard the second phrase very much, the first is a common phrase.
    – Barmar
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 0:42
  • Unfortunately, Google Ngram doesn't allow searching for phrases longer than 5 words.
    – Barmar
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 0:43

1 Answer 1


"Do more harm than good" implies that whatever is happening will result in more bad than good (the word harm could be replaced by bad; it's the do that matters). I've never actually heard "has more bad to it than good", but to me it sounds like it's describing a quality of something rather than the effect.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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