Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Redundancy (3).

Redundancy (3). Today: Common Phrases & One-Word Redundancies. Though many redundancies look like unique ones — the result of semiconscious writing — some are so commonplace that they’ve been all but enshrined in the language. Adept editors must be alert to such phrases as “absolute necessity,” “actual fact,” “advance planning,” “basic fundamentals,” “brief respite,” “closely scrutinize,” “collaborate together,” “completely full,” “consensus of opinion,” “entirely eliminate,” “few in number,” “free gift,” “future plans,” “interact with each other,” “mix together,” “new innovation,” “pair of twins,” “pause for a moment,” “reelected for another term,” “refer back,” “still continues to,” “surrounded on all sides,” “temporary reprieve,” and “unfilled vacancy.” Is a one-word redundancy possible? Certainly, with the help of suffixes and prefixes — e.g.: o “Bipartisan bromides about the Bush administration are like Muzak — inescapable, unending and stultifying. . . . And, as Dubya would say, they ‘misunderestimate’ him.” Robert L. Borosage, “Operation Divide and Discredit,” Wash. Post, 10 Jan. 2001, at A19. o “When the first blasts echoed at 11:15 p.m., a young woman, elfinlike [read elfin or elflike] and angst-ridden, dashed from her home just off Regent’s Park, looking for sanctuary.” Colin Edwards, The Father of Forensics 74 (2006). ——————- Quotation of the Day: “Lucidity . . . does not mean ease of appreciation by the stupidest reader or by the reader with the smallest vocabulary; nor does it mean the expression of ideas which are more easily grasped than others. It means that quality in prose whereby whatever you have had in your mind, however difficult to convey, however unusual, however much requiring the use of terms which may be unfamiliar, shall in the highest degree of clarity possible reappear in your reader’s mind.” Hilaire Belloc, “On Lucidity” (1928), in Essays Old and New 266, 267 (Margaret M. Bryant ed., 1940).
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