Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: refer back.

refer back. “Refer back” is a common redundancy, “refer” alone nearly always being sufficient — e.g.: “Irons said he believes the judge’s latest ruling refers back [read ‘refers’] to an original order in 1991 that did order the removal of the cross.” Valerie Alvord & Gerry Braun, “San Diego Files Notice to Appeal Soledad Cross Ruling,” San Diego Union-Trib., 8 Oct. 1997, at B3. But “Refer back” is justified when it means (as it occasionally does) “to send back to one who or that which has previously been involved” — e.g.: “The full council wouldn’t pass the plan and referred it back to the committee.” Cindy Eberting, “Gaming Ads Could Stay at KCI,” Kansas City Star, 5 June 1997, at C4. ——————- Quotation of the Day: “In thinking about human beings and their interaction with each other — in the family, in business, in education, in race relations, in therapy — nothing is so important as having at one’s fingertips a method of guarding against the pitfalls of language.” S.I. Hayakawa, Symbol, Status, and Personality vi-vii (1963). ====================
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