Which expression is right?

  1. Overall, the journey by a train is comfortable, cost-effective and safe.

  2. Overall, the journey by a train is comfortable, affordable and safe.

I got this after searching on Google Something being cost-effective is not the same as being affordable. But I cannot find a good explanation with some examples.

What is the difference between cost-effective and affordable?

Thank you in advance

1 Answer 1


"Cost effective" means that it is good value. It has a very "business English" style. If you say the train is "cost effective" you are saying that you or your company will can increase your profits by using the train compared to other forms of transport.

"Affordable" means that something is quite cheap. Literally it means that many people would be able to buy it. It less of a business word. It only considers the price and not the possible profits.

Many companies are encouraging their employees to cycle to work. Cycling is one of the most affordable forms of transport. But is a cycle promotion scheme cost-effective? Not if sweaty employees are losing customers!

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