I'm currently working on some answers on other stackexchange sites ( specifically Ask Ubuntu and Unix & Linux ), where I'm utilizing a few command-line utilities or shell programming constructs which at first sight might be overlooked as having no effect or are not useful. However, with a few example cases and relevant context, it becomes apparent such commands/constructs can have a value. So I am looking for a phrase or expression that would allow me to succinctly and positively put in the title/heading of an answer what I expressed in the previous sentences.

I have come accross Does 'all but useless' mean useless or useful?, however "all but useless" seems to be more negative and "all but" seems to serve as negation of "useless" in absolute form. By contrast, I am trying to convey that a construct might be useful in certain cases/context.

  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's a naming request, which are off topic. Jan 31, 2019 at 6:07
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    A diamond in the rough? Jan 31, 2019 at 7:56
  • @JasonBassford That's a very interesting way to phrase it, but would be nice to have reasoning behind this choice, and definitely addresses the positive aspect of the question. Can you post that as an answer with an explanation how it addresses the context part of the question as well ? Posting a potential answer in the comments is not recommended across all stackexchange sites, as you may know. Jan 31, 2019 at 8:32
  • I posted it as a comment because your question is unclear. I have no idea if that is the type of thing you're asking for or not. If it is, it should be obviously right or wrong—or at least on the right track. So, barring further direction, it's one of a Twenty Questions-type response, used to narrow down what you want. Do you want something literal or metaphorical? With any request like this, unless it's clearly defined in some other way, you need to provide an example sentence with a blank space for the word or phrase you're looking for. Jan 31, 2019 at 13:33

1 Answer 1


Interesting question. To keep with the word useful, you could say:

"surprisingly useful constructs", to contrast their usefulness with the perception they are useless or have no value.

"potentially useful constructs", to indicate that constructs can be useful depending on some other factor (in this case context).

"contextually useful constructs", to indicate more strongly that context matters.

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