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Unnecessary Redundancies

picture of redundant sign

On my blog I poke fun at all sorts of things, good-naturedly, of course. It's especially fun when it's something that I know I am also guilty of. The other day I said something in class and immediately realized that what I had said was redundant. I pointed out to my students what I had said. I figured it was at least marginally on topic — I teach French and linguistic redundancies are undoubtedly possible in every language.

Here's a dictionary definition of the word:

re·dun·dan·cy (noun), 1. The state of being redundant. 2. A superfluity; an excess. 3. Unnecessary repetition.

Here's a fun visualization of redundancy that I found online:

picture of redundancy

Newscasters and politicians, possibly because of the sheer amount of speaking they do, seem to offer up quite a few redundancies. The other day in connection with Swine Flu (H1N1) I heard one person call it a "world-wide pandemic disease." But they don't have a monopoly on redundancy. Yesterday I heard someone talking about "two twins." And for some reason, all of my high school social studies teachers used to say "irregardless."

Some redundancies might not even strike people as being redundant, until further reflection, like "government deficits." Some redundancies result from adding a superfluous modifier to a word that is already an absolute, like "quite unique" or "very true." Though we say these things innocently, they are still redundancies that we repetitiously repeat again and again over and over. You get the point, which is why say it twice?

I had an extremely long list of redundancies in my files and found some even longer lists online. Rather than repeating those lists, here are some of my personal favorites:

academic scholar
ACT test
and etc.
automatic ATM machine
brief moment
completely unanimous
conniption fit
déjà vu all over again (Thanks, Yogi Berra!)
down under
eliminate altogether
empty hole
exact replica
first of all
free gift
honest truth
hopes and aspirations
I thought to myself....
immortalized forever
individual person
join together
live audience
may possibly
near vicinity
new innovations
nostalgia for the past
not one single person
null and void
original source
other alternatives
over again
over and above
P.I.N. number
passing fad
personal friend
please RSVP
polar opposites
refer back
safe haven
see with one's own eyes
serious danger
sink down
small speck
spinning around
sudden impulse
sufficient enough
surrounded on all sides
temporary reprieve
terrible tragedy
totally demolished
unexpected surprise
unsolved mystery
vacillating back and forth
water hydrant
widow woman
with au jus gravy
written down
young child

You can read a great explanation of redundancies and see a l-o-n-g list of them at http://www.wordfocus.com/pleonasm.html [1]. Another great site — http://grammar.about.com/od/words/a/redundancies.htm [2] — puts the redundant element in parentheses, thus showing the part of the expression that would be sufficient.


Speaking of redundancies, birthdays can sometimes be "same-old-same-old." However this year my birthday was anything but that. When I arrived at my office yesterday morning, I found decorations all over the door, with students' names on the various objects.

picture of decorations

I thought, "Cute! Some of my students wanted to surprise me." And then I opened the door.... Oh my! There weren't many square inches of floor space not covered with balloons.

picture of decorations

My office mate had left our door unlocked at the end of the day Tuesday to give the "interior decorators" access. After we had fun breaking the balloons later in the morning yesterday, my office mate wanted to take a picture of a jubilant me. Here's the "birthday garçon."

picture of the birthday garcon

Last evening, the organizer of the decorations posted some pictures on her Facebook profile. Here's a composite of several:

picture of the decorators

Merci, mes chers étudiants! You helped make this September 30th anything but redundant! 😀

Several readers have asked me how my birthday apple dumplings [3] were. They were unbelievable! Thanks, Dear!

Last evening Becka and I went to Firehouse Subs [4] for dinner. Last year I signed up for their birthday club, and last week I received a card to be used for a free medium sub sandwich. Our fave is the Italian sub. Mmm!

My friend Phil and I have a longstanding tradition of taking each other out for lunch to celebrate our birthdays. Today he took me downtown to the Mellow Mushroom [5] where we split a cheese calzone with pepperoni. I'd never been there before and plan to take my wife there in the future.

My birthday may eventually conclude this weekend when Becka and I use the coupon I got from the Birthday Club at Cold Stone Creamery [6] for a free "Like It Create Your Own Creation."


Do you have any favorite redundancies that you love to use or that make you cringe when you hear them?


"Suppose you were an idiot... And suppose you were a member of Congress... But I repeat myself." - Mark Twain

=^..^= =^..^=

As I've said before, I never repeat myself.