Cost versus costs (noun)
Thread poster: Manticore (X)

Manticore (X)  Identity Verified

Local time: 08:38
English to German
+ ...
Apr 18, 2011

It's probably as old as the English language.

Manufacturing cost or costs?

The manufacturing cost is or are too high?

I thought "cost" - the expenses in an organisation is / are a singulare tantum with the verb in plural.

Who knows the answer?

Thanks and kind regards



Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:38
Member (2008)
Italian to English
No answer Apr 18, 2011

Roland Fischer wrote:

Who knows the answer?


There is no answer. Either term may be appropriate, depending on the context - as Hermann confirms at greater length in his message below.

[Edited at 2011-04-18 12:49 GMT]


Norbert Hermann  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:38
English to German
+ ...
There is an answer. Have a look here: Apr 18, 2011

...and check out the usage notes.

1 [countable, uncountable] the amount of money that you need in order to buy, make or do something

the high/low cost of housing
A new computer system has been installed at a cost of £80000.
The plan had to be abandoned on grounds of cost.
We did not even make enough money to cover the cost of the food.Consumers will have to bear the full cost of these pay increases.
The total cost to you (= the amount you have to pay) is £3000.

2 costs [plural] the total amount of money that needs to be spent by a business.

The use of cheap labour helped to keep costs down.
to cut/reduce costs
running/operating/labour costs
We have had to raise our prices because of rising costs.
Opinion was divided on the potential costs and benefits of the scheme.

3 [uncountable, singular] the effort, loss or damage that is involved in order to do or achieve something

the terrible cost of the war in death and suffering
the environmental cost of nuclear power
She saved him from the fire but at the cost of her own life (= she died).
He worked non-stop for three months, at considerable cost to his health.
I felt a need to please people, whatever the cost in time and energy.

4 costs (North American English also court costs) [plural] the sum of money that somebody is ordered to pay for lawyers, etc. in a legal case

He was ordered to pay £2000 costs.


Manticore (X)  Identity Verified

Local time: 08:38
English to German
+ ...
Hermann Apr 18, 2011

Thanks for the answer.

As a result it should be "transport cost" and not "costs". Am I right?




B D Finch  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:38
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Legal, accounting or other Apr 18, 2011

Hermann wrote:
4 costs (North American English also court costs) [plural] the sum of money that somebody is ordered to pay for lawyers, etc. in a legal case

He was ordered to pay £2000 costs.

The above use of "costs" for legal costs is UK English too. I think the difference can be simplified by saying that where the context is accounting or legal fees (whether for a company or for an individual), it is "costs" and otherwise it is "cost".

Re "transport cost" or "transport costs", it could be either depending upon your context.


[Edited at 2011-04-18 09:16 GMT]


Dave Bindon  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:38
Member (2010)
Greek to English
Transport costs Apr 18, 2011

To my (British) mind, it has to be "transport costs".


Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:38
Italian to English
Context is key Apr 18, 2011

Dave Bindon wrote:

To my (British) mind, it has to be "transport costs".

As Tom and Hermann point out, it's not possible to make a decision without more context.

"Transport costs" is a general term and could be appropriate when talking, say, about the overall transport costs of production for a company or factory, perhaps. "Transport cost" implies some degree of specification, for example the "transport cost" of a product or production chain within the context of a particular factory.

At this point, it's Roland's call.


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Cost versus costs (noun)

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