I'm really having a hard time to even phrase the sentence I'm looking for, sorry!

Examples would include:

  • A programmer telling someone he wrote a small piece of code directly in assembly instead of C++ for increased performance.

  • Telling someone you could have used duct tape, which would have been quick and easy, but chose fiberglass for a longer lasting solution.

In general, the person is willing to sacrifice easy task execution in exchange for increased quality in the end result.

I'm not looking for someone to write a sentence for me, I'm looking for a common way of expressing something.

  • What form would you like the answer to be in? Are you asking for a common expression, like an idiom, or just a sentence?
    – Daniel
    Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 1:26
  • @Daniel Ideally, something the programmer could say in one short sentence in my first example.
    – Shawn
    Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 1:39
  • 'Ease', not 'easiness' is the preferred noun corresponding to 'easy'.
    – Mitch
    Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 21:38
  • Also, help in phrasing is not particularly on topic here. If you ask 'How can one say X with the following -language- properties (not content), then it might be on topic. Or maybe you want synonyms for 'ease', 'quality' but with ...actually you haven't specified anything, what are you asking here for then?
    – Mitch
    Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 21:41
  • 1
    @Mitch Thanks, I knew there was something wrong there! Also, I'm not looking for someone to write a sentence for me, I'm looking for a common way of expressing something. As you can see, my accepted answer is not a full blown sentence, but rather the idiom I was looking for: Cutting corners.
    – Shawn
    Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 22:03

5 Answers 5


To cut corners means:

to do something in the easiest, quickest, or cheapest way, often harming the quality of your work

So not cutting corners is a suitable way to express this. You could say "I don't cut corners (when doing my job)."

  • Could you say "I've written no-corners-cut SQL", for example? (I really like this one too!)
    – Shawn
    Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 2:00

Easiness is to quality what short-term interest is to long-term interest.

When we sacrifice easiness for quality, we actually sacrifice short-term interest for long-term interest.

  • 1
    Interesting remark, I'll see if I can use this somehow in my context, +1
    – Shawn
    Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 1:37
  • 1
    If you need to explain yourself to management, you might want to use the term "technical debt" because that makes them think of money... Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 11:11
  • Actually the correlation between easiness and quality if much more complex. What you talk about (and mostly OP) is the: easiness ~ substandard approximations ~ low quality, but there is also easiness ~ simplicity ~ higher quality. I think Einsten sums it up pretty well: "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." There you can substitute easy for simple and still have meaningful thought.
    – Unreason
    Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 13:34
  • @TimPietzcker "technical debt" sounds a fit. You might want to post it as a separate answer here and expect at least one upvote from me :)
    – Terry Li
    Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 14:43

You can say they took a no-compromise approach, and avoided shortcuts.


"Minimizing technical debt" might also be a useful term for making this approach palatable for management.

The idea behind this is that cutting corners now will lead to problems in the future (e. g. maintainability, bugs, lack of scalability...) which will then cause higher expenses, just like you have to repay a monetary debt (plus interest).


Words like first-rate, top-notch, premium, superb, outstanding, excellent, choice, prime, select can be used to characterize excellent work.

Well-crafted and quality-made refer to work done with close attention to high quality; well-crafted ties in with craftsmanlike, "characteristic of a craftsman", a skilled person who displays great dexterity.

Painstaking and diligent characterize careful work habits. Painstaking is an adjective meaning "carefully attentive to details; diligent in performing a process or procedure".

  • Does Painstaking have a negative connotation?
    – Shawn
    Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 3:06
  • All of the book links from ngrams that I looked at show painstaking with positive connotation. Note, some of the synonyms (precise, meticulous, careful, scrupulous) from Roget's may be of interest too, particularly meticulous. Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 3:17

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.