Welcome to the second edition of “Not Say I Want To Say”!
Today’s “Not Say I Want To Say” word is “value-added”.
Example from a news report:
…what is important is for us to go towards a fair and reasonable payment regardless of their nationality and depend more on their skills, productivity and their value-add to the industry, and the business.
From “NTUC chief addresses migrant worker issues”, my emphasis.
How has “value-added” been misused here?
The speaker’s intent is to describe “the amount by which the value of [each migrant worker] is increased at each stage…exclusive of [other] cost[s]” (OED) such as their wages or the externalities which Singapore society has to bear when bringing migrant workers into the country.
However, “value-added” is a compound word more commonly used as an adjective e.g. “value-added services”.
The speaker seems to have inferred that “value-added” can be shortened to “value-add”, which is confusing for the reader: is the speaker using the compound word as a verb or a noun?
How do we use “value-added” correctly?
Ask yourself: is a compound word necessary for the purpose I intend?
When the focus is on the value of the goods or services:
- This offers an added value worth up to $5,000 depending on the size of the event. (Correct)
- This offers a ‘value add’ worth up to $5,000 depending on the size of the event. (Wrong)
- These companies include in their remuneration package a performance target called Added Economic Value, or profit less cost of capital, measured over three years. (Correct)
- These companies include in their remuneration package a performance target called Economic Value Added, or profit less cost of capital, measured over three years. (Wrong)
When you want to describe the goods or services:
- More value-added services are needed, such as psychological counselling, and help for those who are in a relationship or marriage. (Correct)
- More value added services are needed, such as psychological counselling, and help for those who are in a relationship or marriage. (Wrong)
Efficiency of non-standard use: No change – “value-add” and “add value” have the same number of syllables and characters.
Potential for adoption: DO NOT adopt – there is no added value to the word “value-add”.
Have a good weekend and see you back here on Monday!