Is there some expression for situations where you can conclude that a solution's advantages are the same as the disadvantages of alternative solutions?

  • 3
    As Jasper notes, if you give us a real example you might see answers that might be more interesting to you.
    – Unreason
    Aug 18, 2011 at 13:08
  • 1
    I mean situations when there are two choices and the pros of one are the cons of the other and vice versa. So what I'd like to emphasize is that the choise is not between the named alternatives, but the mutually exclusive properties they have. Aug 18, 2011 at 13:47
  • 1
    @Tihamer, do you realize that you just described something essentially different? Also, you have not provided an example - your quest for the answer will be much easier if you illustrate the situation with example or analogy.
    – Unreason
    Aug 18, 2011 at 14:08
  • @Unreason Yes indeed, I'm sorry for the confusion. An example I like is what Hackworth already posted below. Aug 18, 2011 at 15:41
  • "mutually exclusive" has a related meaning.
    – wfaulk
    Aug 18, 2011 at 17:25

7 Answers 7


If you want to be a bit verbose and humorous, you could just repeat the fact verbatim and put the sentence as if it was a clear example/counterexample.

Example: You sell your car and do all your traveling by bicycle. That is environmentally friendly and your personal health benefits. On the other hand, shopping and quick, long-distance mobility is limited.

So you could say:

On the one hand, I sold my car. On the other hand, I sold my car!


Colloquially, we might say

It's six of one, half a dozen of the other.


It's a wash.

or more technically,

There's no net benefit.


The net benefit is zero.

Substitute other nouns for benefit at will.


Not sure if there is such an expression, however you may say that 'the advantages do not outweigh the disadvantages'.


The word I would use is balanced.

As in, "The pros and cons of the action were balanced."


kif kif, a good one is:

The front is as big as the back.

there are many sayings of this nature in English, most are mentioned in the other answers. That's my favourite one.


Well, it depends on the case.

Case "software":

.NET's reflection is just as good as Java's reflection.

Case "family":

My girlfriend's dog was just as bad as her former one.


Double-edged sword or two-edged sword.

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.