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I have somewhere the following sentence:

our platform negates the need for a middleman ...

but I do not want to offend or upset the middlemen whomever it is ... there are many middlemen in the context I'm reffering to there.

The question is how can I replace "negate" that is too abrupt, radical and may upset people with something more reasonable?

Would "diminishes" be a good alternative? other suggestions?

  • 1
    How about "offsets"? – Hot Licks Mar 21 at 17:27
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    “Eliminates the middleman” is a common phrase, but i don’t see how that would make the middleman any happier. – Damila Mar 21 at 17:37
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    I don't think negate is even correct in this context. Wiktionary gives as definitions "to deny the existence of", "to cause to be ineffective", "to bring or cause negative results". None of those fits in this sentence. Negate is not a synonym for remove or avoid. – Nate Eldredge Mar 22 at 0:29
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    The OED gives "to nullify, cancel out" as a definition for negate; that applies here. – chepner Mar 22 at 0:54
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    If your new platform truly removes the need for middlepeople, then they're not going to be happier just because you used a different word. You're not selling your platform to middlepeople, presumably; shouldn't you be more worried that your real customers don't understand you when you use woolly language. – Erwin Bolwidt Mar 22 at 12:02
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A (somewhat formal/technical) term used in such situations is obviate.

our platform obviates the need for a middleman ...

ODO:

obviate
VERB [WITH OBJECT]
1 Remove (a need or difficulty)

‘the presence of roller blinds obviated the need for curtains’

  • 1
    'Obviates' is another way of saying 'by-passes,' using Latin roots. – Hugh Mar 21 at 20:01
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    The OP states s/he does not want to "offend or upset the middlemen." I have to ask, if one were a middleman, would one be more offended or upset by being negated, or by being obviated? I neither agree nor disagree with this answer, but feel it needs to address this. – cobaltduck Mar 22 at 11:56
  • This answer is about a nicer/politer/more positive alternative (as per the title) and to replace "negate" with something more reasonable (as per the body of the question). Obviate is a relatively impersonal (and formal) term and it just helps like saying (perhaps) your presence is no longer needed instead of something like get the hell out of here. – alwayslearning Mar 24 at 18:31
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I'd say: Our platform allows you to forgo the middleman. (Positive language, as opposed to negative.)

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    Or even: Our platform allows you to go straight to the <source, end customer, whatever> or gives you direct access to, allows direct interaction with... don’t mention middlemen at all. – Jim Mar 21 at 20:38
  • I like this answer since "allows you" shifts the attention to the purchaser of the platform / end user. – Paul S. Lee Mar 21 at 20:53
  • @Jim you should make that an answer. Negate the middleman and negate the use of the word 'middleman'. – mcalex Mar 22 at 6:50
  • Yes, @Jim, I like that even better. – ElG Mar 26 at 14:13
  • Gave this some more thought: In sales, companies like to highlight the benefit of cutting out the middleman, so actually I think the OP should keep the word "middleman." Sales copy is a different animal than informational writing. If being concise is the goal, then leave out the "middleman." – ElG Mar 26 at 14:22
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I'm in IT development, where our raison d'etre is to automate business processes which often put some people out of job. The standard approach we use to sell IT projects when we cannot outright eliminate the jobs is to empower them to do more value-added service to the business because with automation they have more time to do so.

I don't know your situation. If the middleman can be re-purposed you can say "our platform frees the middleman from administrative duties to empower them for ..."

EDIT: I didn't notice that Elliot already suggested the same thing.

0

For one, I'd say if the need is only diminished then the platform has does not do the whole job. You are only ending the Need for the middleman. You are not taking them away and chopping them up. There are surely better things for them to go and do.

For alternatives you could use "Removes" or "Eliminates" the need. If you hope to be very gentle you could "relieve" the need for the middleman but that would be an odd choice.

Or get around it by "replacing" the middleman or 'Doing the job of the middleman'. In any case you are selling a function or product. It's impact on individuals is not part of the design or construction of the item.

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If you're looking for a positive expression while still using "need", I'd suggest "relieve":

relieve transitive verb

1a : to free from a burden : give aid or help to

2a : to bring about the removal or alleviation of : mitigate

from Merriam Webster

our platform relieves the need for a middleman ...

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Yes, there is. Consider the expression to make something unnecessary. This phrase is very straightforward and hardly requires any explanation as to what it means. So, I'll just use your example to show you how it can be used in a sentence:

Our platform makes the need for a middleman unnecessary.

In my opinion, the sentence now does sound a great deal softer than your original version with negates.

  • I think in that example "the need for" is superfluous? Just "makes a middleman unneccessary" works better – Mick O'Hea Mar 22 at 15:37
  • That's a good point. Thank you for you comment. – Michael Rybkin Mar 22 at 17:35

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