Can the boss/colleagues say this about employee in the company, meaning he has rare skills and abilities, so it is unlikely that he will be fired even if he does something outrageous.

I googled the phrase and didn't find much, so I'm quite unsure, can it be used or not, though he has too much value seems a bit strange.

Smoking was forbidden in the lab, but Johnson had too much value, and didn’t give a shit.

Smoking was forbidden in the lab, but Johnson was too valuable, and didn’t give a shit.


1 Answer 1


Both are grammatical, and both mean the same thing.

Both are also slightly weird. The usual way for such constructions to be used is as introductions for an infinitive that explains in what respect something is not appropriate.

It was too long to fit in the box

He was too upset to notice

It is too late to get there on time

An infinitive is not the only way to indicate in what respect something is not appropriate

A year’s delay was too long for his patience.

The point is that “too” is typically an introduction to more than just an adjective.

However, English also exhibits ellipsis, which is omission of certain words that the speaker or writer assumes will be understood by the intended audience. That is the case here.

too valuable [to be fired]

too valuable [in his special skills for his employer to risk encouraging him to look for a new employer]

The problem with ellipsis is that the exact meaning may be unclear to everyone (including the speaker).

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