at nominal expense to

English translation: at very small expense to / at very low cost to

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:at nominal expense to
Selected answer:at very small expense to / at very low cost to
Entered by: Charles Davis

07:27 Mar 28, 2014
English language (monolingual) [PRO]
Bus/Financial - Accounting
English term or phrase: at nominal expense to
Something will be done at nominal expense to XY. Could you, please, explain me the exact meaning of this term? Does it mean that XY bears the cost? What is nominal in this context? Thank you.
Miomira Brankovic
Serbia
Local time: 20:16
at very small expense to / at very low cost to
Explanation:
One of the meanings of "nominal", and the relevant one here, I believe, is "very small in amount".
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nominal?show=0&t=1...

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Note added at 11 mins (2014-03-28 07:38:52 GMT)
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In other words, "at nominal expense to X" means that it will cost X very little money.

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Note added at 41 mins (2014-03-28 08:08:46 GMT)
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"Nominal" can have more specific meanings in economics. Nominal interest rates are those that do not allow for inflation. Nominal cost can mean the money cost of production. And you can talk about something being bought or sold for "nominal consideration", a purely symbolic cost such as one euro (which is what Aulikki is referring to):
"Alpha Bank acquired Emporiki Bank from Credit Agricole for a nominal consideration of 1 euro."
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/10/alphabank-results-...

But there's no reason to think that "at nominal expense to XY" means anything more specific than at very low expense, lower than you would normally expect whatever it is to cost. That is how the expression is almost always used.

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Note added at 51 mins (2014-03-28 08:18:58 GMT)
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Indeed, I can't find a single example of "at nominal expense to" in which it clearly means anything more specific than "at (very) low expense to". As I say, the fact that "nominal" has technical meanings in certain contexts doesn't mean that it has them here. It is not impossible that it means what Peter and Aulikki are suggesting, but there is no reason to think that it does, and I believe that if it did it would have been expressed differently ("at nominal cost" or "for nominal consideration").

"Natural regeneration would secure a new forest at nominal expense to the public"
http://books.google.es/books?id=xMLW-rlQtVAC&pg=PA120&lpg=PA...

"Thanks to sponsorship dollars from Toyota, this publication is produced at nominal expense to the state."
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/newsletters/legislative_bulletin...


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Note added at 1 hr (2014-03-28 09:20:04 GMT)
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I repeat: nominal expense is not necessarily symbolic expense (symbolic expense is unrelated to real expense, but this is not necessarily true of nominal expense), nor is it necessarily production cost. Since there is nothing in the source text quoted to indicate that it means anything more specific than very low expense, I don't think any more specific answer is justified here.

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Note added at 1 hr (2014-03-28 09:21:43 GMT)
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Your note to Peter, which I have just seen, confirms my feelings on this. "Disposed of at nominal expense" really must mean "disposed of at very low cost", nothing more.
Selected response from:

Charles Davis
Spain
Local time: 20:16
Grading comment
Thank you, this is perfectly clear and fits my context.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



SUMMARY OF ALL EXPLANATIONS PROVIDED
4 +4at very small expense to / at very low cost to
Charles Davis
5at a cost, that is just slightly above zero
Aulikki Uski
3at the real price (of production), or at a symbolic price to buyer
Peter Simon


Discussion entries: 3





  

Answers


18 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
at a cost, that is just slightly above zero


Explanation:
It means that the cost of something is very low, only so that you can just call it a cost. E.g. one party sells an industrial property or a machinery to another party at a cost of 1 euro. The reasons for selling something at nominal expense are various, it can be done e.g. for tax reasons. The term does in fact not exactly implify which party carries the cost, but normally it will the buyer.

Aulikki Uski
Finland
Local time: 21:16
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in FinnishFinnish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Arabic & More: It doesn't have to be a figure just above zero. "Nominal fees" for a course, for example, could be $200, but they are nominal because it usually costs $500.
53 mins
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10 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +4
at very small expense to / at very low cost to


Explanation:
One of the meanings of "nominal", and the relevant one here, I believe, is "very small in amount".
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nominal?show=0&t=1...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 11 mins (2014-03-28 07:38:52 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

In other words, "at nominal expense to X" means that it will cost X very little money.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 41 mins (2014-03-28 08:08:46 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

"Nominal" can have more specific meanings in economics. Nominal interest rates are those that do not allow for inflation. Nominal cost can mean the money cost of production. And you can talk about something being bought or sold for "nominal consideration", a purely symbolic cost such as one euro (which is what Aulikki is referring to):
"Alpha Bank acquired Emporiki Bank from Credit Agricole for a nominal consideration of 1 euro."
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/10/alphabank-results-...

But there's no reason to think that "at nominal expense to XY" means anything more specific than at very low expense, lower than you would normally expect whatever it is to cost. That is how the expression is almost always used.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 51 mins (2014-03-28 08:18:58 GMT)
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Indeed, I can't find a single example of "at nominal expense to" in which it clearly means anything more specific than "at (very) low expense to". As I say, the fact that "nominal" has technical meanings in certain contexts doesn't mean that it has them here. It is not impossible that it means what Peter and Aulikki are suggesting, but there is no reason to think that it does, and I believe that if it did it would have been expressed differently ("at nominal cost" or "for nominal consideration").

"Natural regeneration would secure a new forest at nominal expense to the public"
http://books.google.es/books?id=xMLW-rlQtVAC&pg=PA120&lpg=PA...

"Thanks to sponsorship dollars from Toyota, this publication is produced at nominal expense to the state."
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/newsletters/legislative_bulletin...


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Note added at 1 hr (2014-03-28 09:20:04 GMT)
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I repeat: nominal expense is not necessarily symbolic expense (symbolic expense is unrelated to real expense, but this is not necessarily true of nominal expense), nor is it necessarily production cost. Since there is nothing in the source text quoted to indicate that it means anything more specific than very low expense, I don't think any more specific answer is justified here.

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Note added at 1 hr (2014-03-28 09:21:43 GMT)
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Your note to Peter, which I have just seen, confirms my feelings on this. "Disposed of at nominal expense" really must mean "disposed of at very low cost", nothing more.

Charles Davis
Spain
Local time: 20:16
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
Thank you, this is perfectly clear and fits my context.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Arabic & More
59 mins
  -> Thanks, Amel!

agree  Parvathi Pappu: agree
1 hr
  -> Thank, paru!

disagree  Peter Simon: expense is what it costs for maker, so 'nominal expence to XY' may simply mean that exactly, and XY may or may not be the maker of the thing, it's also unclear
1 hr
  -> I don't understand your grounds for disagreement. As you say, it's unclear whether XY is the maker or the buyer. Since we can't tell, anything more specific than I have said is unwarranted here.

agree  Ashutosh Mitra
3 hrs
  -> Thanks, Ashutosh!

agree  Tina Vonhof
8 hrs
  -> Thanks, Tina :)

agree  lorenab23: :-) specially now that we have x-tra context
20 hrs
  -> Yes, I think so too. Thanks, Lorena, and have a great weekend :)
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40 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
at the real price (of production), or at a symbolic price to buyer


Explanation:
A tricky one. Yes, XY is going to bear the cost, but the expense will be nominal. There you may have several, contradictory kinds of interpreting the term 'nominal' (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/nominal... Yes, it is often meant to be 'minimal', 'slightly above zero', as colleagues have pointed out in the meantime, but in finances, it also has the meaning "Nominal cost is the money cost of production. It is also called expenses of production" (WikiAnswers.com). Nominal is also often meant to be compared to real value, that is, value or cost expressed in money terms as seen now v. real value that does not change with the comparable values of currencies. These various meanings are corroborated in the list of terms in the Financial Times Lexicon and Investopedia (below), and a big article explains it here: http://www.answers.com/topic/real-versus-nominal-value-econo... However, because those are mostly terms relating strictly to finances and money market terms, I would still be doubtful - it depends for me on the immediate context you need it for. As 'nominal prices' usually refers to bonds ... 'nominal expense' may still be 'very little', i.e. 'symbolic'.

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Note added at 41 mins (2014-03-28 08:09:02 GMT)
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Actually, my confidence could be '5' as well, as I'm sure it can mean all the above, depending.

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Note added at 3 hrs (2014-03-28 10:31:05 GMT)
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Hm, I've just seen your remark, Miomira, thanks. I still don't feel that I could choose between the two meanings. Both cases would mean no profit for the one doing the job. Of course, asking it to be done for no cost would mean 'not costing them too much' more than what it does cost to doer. Can it mean 'practically no cost' in sensible business? If yes, then Charles' view holds and only one half of what I thought.

Example sentence(s):
  • Expressed in terms of current prices or figures, without making allowance for changes over time: the nominal exchange rate
  • A price that does not take account of inflation a price that does not represent the real cost or value of something the stated price that appears on a bond etc.

    Reference: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/n/nominal.asp
    Reference: http://lexicon.ft.com/Search?searchText=nominal
Peter Simon
Netherlands
Local time: 20:16
Native speaker of: Native in HungarianHungarian
Notes to answerer
Asker: In my specific case, something has to be disposed of at nominal expense to the company. Therefore, I assume that it will be disposed of only if the disposal would not cost the company much.


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Charles Davis: There is no reason to think that it means anything so specific here, and I think it's unlikely. "Nominal" doesn't necessarily mean "symbolic"; a nominal cost can still be an economic cost.
15 mins
  -> Nothing 'specific' about it, Ch, it means either 'very small', i.e. symbolic contrasted w/ original, or 'as much as it cost now', 'face value'. But it depends on the circumstances, doesn't it, because it may mean both, not only what you've said.
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