Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: *without scarcely.

*without scarcely. This phrasing is an optical illusion: something of a redundancy while something of an oxymoron. Whatever it is, though, it’s illogical — e.g.: o “He shook hands without scarcely [read ‘without’ or ‘scarcely’] noticing those who were there to encourage him.” Godfrey Sperling, “The Power of a Candidate’s Prose,” Christian Science Monitor, 8 Mar. 1988, at 11. o “How can a band keep plugging away — without scarcely [read ‘without’ or ‘scarcely’] batting an eye — in the face of such departures?” Beach Patrick, “The Sound and the Spectacle,” Des Moines Register, 12 June 1994, Entertainment §, at 1. Language-Change Index — *”without scarcely” for “without” or “scarcely”: Stage 1. *Invariably inferior form. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. Quotation of the Day: “All through the life-long process of learning one’s ‘mother-tongue,’ one is liable to apprehend wrongly and to reproduce inexactly.” William Dwight Whitney, The Life and Growth of Language 34 (1875; repr. 1979).
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