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I want to talk about an achievement and say that sometimes costs are reduced by 20%, sometimes by 50%.

I created a solution to reduce costs by up to 50% less.

How should I phrase this?

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    I created a solution to reduce costs by up to 50%. Don't need the less at the end.
    – d.b
    Aug 12, 2021 at 18:52
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    With my solution costs are up to 50% less. I agree with @d.b ... do not include both "reduce" and "less".
    – GEdgar
    Aug 12, 2021 at 20:00
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    @GEdgar: "50% less" doesn't sound right at all. I would expect "50% lower".
    – TonyK
    Aug 13, 2021 at 11:51
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    OP, if you said the sentence as it stands, whomever heard it would think that your plan achieved 50% less savings than some other plan. Aug 13, 2021 at 12:44

3 Answers 3

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I would say it is not correct. The reason is because “reduce” and “less” both refer to reduction, so it is unclear whether you are unnecessarily stating the reduction twice, or making a reduction to the reduction - which is confusing either way.

Your sentence would work by removing “less.” Then you would only refer to the reduction once, which is your intended meaning.

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In your question you correctly use the phrase

costs reduced by 20%, sometimes by 50%

You don't need the word "less" and the word "reduce". You don't say "costs reduced by 20% less"

And you don't need the word "less" in your original phrase:

I created a solution to reduce costs by up to 50%.

There are other ways to phrase this, some of which have already been given in comments

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The word less makes it incorrect.

I created a solution to reduce costs by up to 50%.

If you know the correct range is 20-50, it's often better to be specific and say that. Otherwise "up to 50%" might be perceived as intentionally misleading.

I created a solution to reduce costs by 20% to 50%.

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