During the recent Stanley Cup playoffs, I heard an announcer say that "The Detroit Red Wings are going for their second consecutive Cup in a row." The phrase in a row, of course, repeats the meaning of the word consecutive, a flaw known as a redundancy, that is an unnecessary repetition. Redundancies are something which we should all try to eliminate. As many people aren't even aware of the redundancy of certain phrases, allow the ole' English teacher to review a few for you:
- "future plans"--A favorite of guidance counselors, who plans for the past?
- "picture in you mind"--As opposed to where, your elbow? Try the word imagine instead.
- "free gift"--Santa never sends a bill. If something's a gift, it's free.
- "true fact"--If it's a fact, it must be true.
- "oftentimes"--Often "means frequently through time."
- "overcrowded"--How can something be "overcrowded"? Can a woman be "overpregnant"? Schools are either over capacity or they are not, just as pregnant women are either pass their due dates or they aren't.
- "It's raining outside."--As opposed to in your living room?
- "Where's it at?"--This sentence really derives from our habit of forming contractions. "Where's it?" somehow sounds incomplete, but "Where is it?" does not. If you're going to say "Where's it at?" then why not go for broke and say, "Where's it located at, here?" and use four words (out of six in the sentence) that refer to the location that "it" occupies.
There now, boys and girls, a brief, but pointed lesson in redundancies. Any questions? Good--I don't want to repeat myself.