Sunday, July 26, 2020

Language Corner: Redundant expressions

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the noun "redundancy" is defined as "a superfluous repetition; an act or instance of needless repetition."  It involves the use of two or more words that mean the same thing.  English language speakers often use redundant expressions.  There are some obvious ones such as "That's the honest truth."  Isn't the truth honest?  Another one is "tuition fee."  Tuition is a fee.  It is only necessary to say "tution.'  Then, there's "bare naked."  Doesn't "bare" already mean "naked."

We pepper our speech and our writing with common redundancies such as "free gifts" and "foreign imports."  So, if you want to clear the clutter from your speech and your prose, avoid the following redundancies.


actual facts (When is a fact not actual?)

advance preview  (Does a preview ever come after?)

circle around (There is no way to circle except to go around.)

cease and desist (Cease and desist are synonyms.  Both words mean "to stop.")

empty space (Are there any full spaces?)

live studio audience (Is there a dead studio audience?)

frozen tundra (According to Merriam-Webster, tundra is "a black mucky soil with permanently frozen subsoil.  Therefore, tundra, by definition, is frozen.)

join together (Can something be joined apart?)

final outcome (Every outcome is final.)

end result  (Is there a beginning result?)

future plans (Do plans refer to the past?)

general public (Is the public non-general?"

little baby (Are babies huge?)

assemble together (Can you assemble apart?)

unexpected surprise (A surprise is always unexpected.  Otherwise it wouldn't be surprise.)

bald-headed (If you are bald, your head is bald).

added bonus (A bonus is extra.  It is always added.)

false pretense (Can a pretense be true?")

difficult dilemma (Is there an easy dilemma?")

revert back (Revert means to go back.  The "back" isn't necessary.  It's the same as saying "go back back."

My last example is very appropriate during these times.  It's "global pandemic."  A pandemic, by its very nature is global.

- Joanne

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