I want to write something along the lines of:

For the purposes of this study, X was developed from scratch.

But the "scratch" here doesn't sound very formal, does it?

Is "from the ground up" any better than "from scratch" in terms of formality? I guess no?

What would be a good way to express this, without sounding too lame? I do want to make it clear that the X really was built, uh, from the ground up.

For what it's worth, the X here is a completely abstract thing. (Think of software, for example.)

  • 1
    Purpose-built, completely new development, developed as all new code..
    – Jim
    Sep 12, 2017 at 17:22
  • 1
    If you go with "purpose-built", which I think is a reasonable choice, you'll probably want to rearrange your sentence into something like: "For this study, X was purpose-built." Also, I've never heard of something developed from "the scratch" - it's just "from scratch."
    – user888379
    Sep 12, 2017 at 17:43
  • @user888379 Thanks, edited the question. It also looks like Google may give better results with the "the" removed.
    – Pukku
    Sep 12, 2017 at 17:51
  • 1
    "from the ground up" is actually fine in a professional context, as well, if you don't mind the mental association with buildings. Sep 12, 2017 at 18:07
  • 2
    As long as you have the usage spot-on, and you do, I see no reason to avoid it. Related from scratch . Google Scholar has a couple hundred entries with from scratch in their titles, and returns 300,000 plus hits, which is probably an estimate of some sort, but does indicate a degree of acceptability.
    – Phil Sweet
    Sep 12, 2017 at 18:50

4 Answers 4


"From the ground up", which you mentioned, is actually fine in a professional context, as well, if you don't mind the mental association with buildings and construction.

  • Ended up using this.
    – Pukku
    Sep 15, 2017 at 13:34

Perhaps ex nihilo? Given its Romance origin, it ought to be more than suited.

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    – fev
    Sep 2, 2021 at 9:39

Hauskka Tavata!

We don't know why you're asking the question, but let's assume that the reader needs to be impressed by the fact that this is your work and no one else's. Bear in mind that while you've asked a perfectly sensible question about English colloquial usage, your question is really about marketing.

You could try...

For the purpose of this study, X was developed originally and without dependence on the paradigms of existing libraries.

I'm cheating. I looked at your profile and saw you're a C++ programmer, so I'm assuming that the purpose of your statement is to describe a software project.

"Original" stresses the idea that it is your creativity and talent that are the foundation of the project.

"Dependence" casts doubt on the competition, or the works of others you want seen as less valuable than yourself.

"Paradigms" is one of a million words that have become cliché, but what has made them cliché is their recognizability in a business context. Using the word can help overcome the ubiquitous gulf between you the artist and they the business people. You're speaking "their language." It also serves to cast doubt on the quality of the other projects as they will be perceived as old-fashioned (just as the word is becoming perceived as old-fashioned).

  • Wow, thanks for the answer! In fact I don't really need to market a lot here; I just need something that is formal enough for academic(-ish) use, yet makes the point very clear.
    – Pukku
    Sep 12, 2017 at 19:17

Trying to find a non-colloquial (plain english clear to non native speakers) alternative is quite hard. I prefer to use from the beginning in most cases.

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