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I have a question about the usage pattern of the verb "cost":

  1. The repair would cost something in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  2. The repair would cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The first sentence is definitely standard English. The second sentence (dropping "something") is not found in dictionaries, but could be found on google. But is it standard English?

  • The second is just as natural-sounding to me as the first—maybe moreso (AmE native speaker). – Brian Hitchcock Mar 11 '15 at 9:20
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If you're using "WOULD" for talking about the result of an event that you imagine.

Would + verb. (you can use Could or Might, too.)

The repair would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

  • Yes! In that example the rest is just noise. A case where you'd want it: "With a cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, that repair isn't likely to be performed this fiscal year." – Ben Voigt Mar 12 '15 at 0:23
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This sentence might be helpful:

The cost of the repair would be somewhere in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Now, I don't mean to contradict Brian, but I prefer to use somewhere and feel that something sounds a bit off. What we are saying formally is that the cost of the equipment would be somewhere in the range of $100,000 and $1,000,000. The meaning stays the same if we leave out the word somewhere (or something) entirely.

The underlying meaning of the usage is usually that it would cost more than we want to pay.

We might also say this:

The cost of the repair would be something like several hundred thousand dollars.

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