Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: undue alarm.

undue alarm. “Undue alarm” is not always an illogical phrase — e.g.: “Committee Chairman Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), sponsor of the legislation, said the CFTC was reacting with ‘perhaps undue alarm.'” Mike Dorning, “Futures Overseer Fights Plan to Ease Regulation,” Chicago Trib., 12 Feb. 1997, Bus. §, at 1 (implying that some amount of alarm might be justified). But it usually does signal illogic — e.g.: o “[The inspectors] do not carry guns and do not wish to cause farmers undue alarm [read ‘alarm farmers’] when they come for inspections.” Paul Oldham, “Farmers Briefed on Hiring,” Tennessean, 22 Oct. 1996, at B1. o “To prevent undue alarm, Wednesday’s test [tornado-warning system] will occur only if weather conditions are fair.” “Metro Report,” Dallas Morning News, 10 Dec. 1996, at A24. (And if fair weather comes, only the right amount of alarm will occur?) For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “I really do not know that anything has ever been more exciting than diagraming sentences.” Gertrude Stein, “Poetry and Grammar” (1935), in Perspectives on Style 44, 46 (Frederick Candelaria ed., 1968).
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