List of redundant expressions

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This is an alphabetically-organized list of some English language phrases which may repeat an idea, or use words which could be grammatically left out without changing the meaning. (See the article on pleonasm for a more in-depth discussion of rhetorical redundancy.)

Although redundancy is a bugbear for the punctilious, the use of such expressions can be stylistically valid. Some may be integral to particular dialects or idioms, and each must be assessed in context — linguistic and social — by the standards one applies to that context.

Conventions used in this article: A possibly redundant portion of each example expression in the list below is indicated by striking-through portions of the example (as in "this phrase is redundantly redundant"). In many of the expressions below, this is done in an arbitrary fashion (for example "estimated at about 1000", from which either "estimated at" or "about" could reasonably be removed).

Many of these examples are not universally agreed to be redundant (some have clarifying usage notes expressing this in more detail). Their redundancy can be tenuous, specific to a particular context, or dependent on the assumption of background knowledge. The expressions are not necessarily noteworthy in any way other than their alleged redundancy. The list does not count simple repetition for emphasis, as in "I'm very, very hungry", nor linguistic 'exact reduplication', as in "it's time to say bye-bye", as examples of redundant phrases. The rhyming and ablaut forms of reduplication (e.g. "razzle-dazzle" or "tip-top", respectively) might be listed if they have a shorter, equivalent, non-redundant form and are not simply repetition to emphasize the point (as in "teeny-tiny").

List of possibly redundant expressions

#

  • {number} different/differing: "You ask Congressmen Tom Reynolds and Brian Higgins those questions and you get two different answers." — Scott Brown, "Two Congressmen, Two Different Views on Iraq", Gannett Newswire, Mar. 20, 2006. (See also "number of different", below.)
  • {number} separate: "This Committee met on twelve separate occasions during the last fiscal year." — Cisco Systems, "2000 Proxy Statement and Annual Report" (see also "numerous/various/etc. different/separate/etc.", below
  • 12 [o'clock] noon/midnight: "As of 12 noon tomorrow / Say goodbye to the world / As you know it". — The Plasmatics, "12 Noon", Metal Priestess, Stiff America Records, 1981

A

  • a.m. in the morning: "At 3:30 a.m. in the morning on, I guess, it was the day after the election, he was sitting upstairs, and I finally said, go to bed." — George W. Bush, "President Holds Press Conference", Office of the Press Secretary, The White House, November 4, 2004
  • absolute beginning/end: (see "very/absolute beginning/end", below)
  • absolute guarantee: I give you my absolute guarantee. (This phrase is not redundant in a context in which guarantees can be conditional, such as a legal context.)
  • absolutely essential: "For the first half-year a teacher is necessary. After that it is absolutely essential to rehearse in front of a mirror." — "What's Most Important" by Sergei Ignatov, Juggler's World, Vol. 42, No. 4
  • absolutely sure: There's no way to be absolutely sure.
  • actual experience: Have you had actual experience at welding? (This may not be redundant when distinguishing from virtual experience, as in training.)
  • add an additional/a further/etc.: "The plan could add an additional 3.6 cents per gallon to the cost of gasoline..." — Eric Pfeiffer, "Almost as Reliable as Kissing Babies", National Review, May 25, 2005 (This wouldn't be redundant if said after a previous addition. E.G. "We added five gallons of water to the mix. Later, we added an additional two gallons.")
  • added bonus/addition/etc.: "I would like at the very end to give you the schedule of the President for the upcoming week and, as an extra added bonus, I'll go a tiny bit even into the week following that." — Ari Fleischer, "Press Briefing by Ari Fleischer", Office of the Press Secretary, The White House, February 92001
  • advance warning / planning / reservations: "Reliable advance warning of the attacks could only have come from human sources, the [Joint Intelligence Committee] report says." — "9/11 Panel Blasts CIA, FBI's Lapses in Coming Report" by K. Johnson, T. Locy & K. Kiely, USA Today, July 22, 2003 (This would not be redundant if it distinguished between warning / planning / reservation done significantly before the event and immediate and/or last-minute warning / planning / reservation)
  • all of: All of the children go to school.
  • alongside: We walked alongside the pier. (Proper usage of "alongside" is not redundant, as in "the dinghy pulled up alongside the Coast Guard ship".)
  • alongside of: He was buried alongside of his dog.
  • and...moreover / what's more / additionally: I know nothing and I don't want to know, what's more.
  • and etc.: She talked about cats, dogs, and etc. (et cetera means "and so on".)
  • and moreover/what's more/additionally/plus: I know nothing and plus I don't want to know. (Some would not consider the "and moreover" or "and what's more" variants, in this closely juxtaposed type of construction, to be redundant, but rather a form of stress.)
  • are/is currently: They are currently playing off-Broadway. (Not redundant if the change was very recent and perhaps unknown to the audience; otherwise the bare use of "are", "is", etc., might sound like a disagreement with known [former] fact, where no such disagreement actually existed.)
  • as for example: Colors can have exotic names, as for example "seafoam."
  • as to whether: I'm inquiring as to whether the bus has arrived.
  • ask a question: If you need information, don't hesitate to ask a question. (Not redundant if what would be asked for — assistance, cookies, etc. — is not obvious.)
  • ask for help/assistance/etc.: If you need anything, don't hesitate to ask for help. (See preceding entry's note.)
  • assemble together: (see "join together", below)
  • at a later date: That will happen at a later date. (Not redundant if distinguishing later today from later another day.)
  • at the present time: At the present time we have no openings.
  • at this point in time: At this point in time, it is unclear what has happened. ('at this point' could be used spatially, as in : at this point on the map, in the road, etc.)
  • autumn season: The leaves turn red and gold in the autumn season.

B

  • baby boy/girl was born: Our baby boy was born at 2 a.m. (Not redundant if you have two children of the same sex and one is not an infant)
  • bald-headed: Patrick Stewart takes being bald-headed in stride.
  • bare naked: The old man ran bare naked through the streets.
  • basic fundamentals: "Although Harvard is widely noted for its efforts to teach the basic fundamentals of science, it has also begun to emphasize advanced research at the expense of the basics." — Christopher J. Georges, Back To Basics: Taking Note, The Harvard Crimson, March 6, 1985
  • blend together: Their voices blend together in lovely harmony.
  • Bo Staff: I've trained for years to master the bo staff.
  • bouquet of flowers: "It was one of those unforgettable scenes of the Salt Lake Games: a gold medal swinging from her neck, a bouquet of flowers hoisted in her right hand, a teammate at her side and tears of joy streaming down her face." — "With New Driver, Flowers Hopes to Recreate Salt Lake Magic", The Washington Post, February 20, 2006. Note: When dealing with flowers of a specific type (for example, roses) or non-floral items (for example, balloons), the items gathered into the bouquet may be mentioned without fear of redundancy, since the primary meaning of bouquet only assumes flowers in general.[1][2]
  • brief cameo: "Before the final word - 'farewell' - rang out, there had been brief cameo appearances by cabinet ministers, celebrities, foreign envoys." Marlise Simons, "Don Quixote, at 400, Reflects the Spanish Soul of Today", The New York Times, May 2, 2004
  • burn up: At this rate, we'll burn up the fuel in a month. (Not always redundant; "the meteorite burned brightly as it entered the atmosphere" and "the meteorite burned up brightly in the atmosphere" have different meanings; the latter indicates that it was destroyed. Compare "burn up" with "burn down", which is generally not redundant, since it indicates destruction as opposed to simply some fire damage.)
  • but...however / nevertheless: I really want to, but I can't however.
  • but however / nevertheless: I shouldn't have, but nevertheless I did. (If "but" rather than "nevertheless" were removed in this example, it would need a semicolon, not a comma.)

C

  • cancel out: A vote for Tweedle Dee will cancel out a vote for Tweedle Dum.
  • chai tea: Let's order some chai tea after our meal.
  • chief/main protagonist: "The story's chief protagonist, Niggle, had spent his life trying to paint a landscape..." —Joseph Pearce, "Grading Jackson: Would Tolkien have given Peter Jackson’s movie a thumbs-up?", National Review, December 17, 2003 (May not be redundant if a work of fiction has several protagonists, one among them more central to the plot than the others.)
  • climb up: We watched the bear climb up the tree. (If the default upward direction does not apply, specifying direction is not redundant, e.g. "climb across the rock face", "climb down the stairs", etc. Cf. its mirror images, "descend down" and "fall down", below.)
  • close proximity: The torpedo explodes when in close proximity to the hull.
  • close scrutiny: "Their manifesto yesterday received the same close scrutiny as the other two big parties — and it was an uncomfortable experience." — Peter Riddell, "Sleepy-eyed Kennedy slips up over his manifesto tax pledge", The Times, April 15, 2005
  • collaborate together: We decided to collaborate together on that book.
  • combine together: The ingredients combine together to form gunpowder.
  • comfortable with {verb}: I'm not comfortable with dancing with strangers.
  • common bond: They formed a common bond against the British.
  • commute back and forth: "She will commute back-and-forth between New Haven and her home in Southern California before relocating to the Elm City this summer." — Marcus McLin, Gobrecht to lead women's hoops, Yale Daily News, April 12, 2005
  • complete monopoly: With that merger, they had a complete monopoly.
  • completely destroyed: The town hall was completely destroyed. (Not necessarily redundant: it is possible for something to be 'partly destroyed'.)
  • completely filled: By ten, the house was completely filled. (Not necessarily redundant, for the same reason as above.)
  • comprises of: A soccer team comprises of 11 players.
  • confer/congregate together: (see "join together", below)
  • consensus of opinion: "Wim Duisenberg, the ECB's Dutch president, is seen as a leader who seeks to fashion a consensus of opinion on the council rather than imposing his own views, as some chairmen of the US Federal Reserve have done." — Tony Barber, "Impartial voice keen to retain its independence", The Financial Times, January 12 2001
  • consult with: I have consulted with my lawyers.
  • continue on: I hope to continue on in the family business.
  • continue to remain: We continue to remain optimistic.
  • cost the sum of: The repairs cost the sum of $1100.
  • crouch down: (see "kneel/knelt down", below)
  • currently {verb or verbal phrase}: You're currently being considered for the position, but I'm being laid off because the golf course is currently undergoing renovation.

D

  • dates back: That pot dates back to the time of Columbus.
  • days of {timespan}: (see "hours of {timespan}", below)
  • definite decision: By Friday, I had made a definite decision. (Not necessarily redundant, one can make a partial decision.)
  • déjà vu [all over] again: "It's like déjà vu all over again." — Yogi Berra, in reference to home runs by Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle (source). (This is actually a Yogiism, one among a great many humorously redundant and sometimes oxymoronic constructions of this sort, generally intentional. See also Farberisms.)
  • NANAE (and possibly other forums) frequently makes humorous reference to a "Department of Redundancy Department".
  • descend down: "The Pentagon aides and journalists descend down the back stairs of the plane as is customary while Rumsfeld comes down the main stairs to meet his welcome party." — Demetri Sevastopulo, "On tour with Rumsfeld", The Financial Times, February 10, 2006 (Cf. "fall down", below, and their mirror image, "climb up", above,)
  • different kinds: There were twelve different kinds of ice cream.
  • difficult dilemma: "Sharon's government faces a difficult dilemma that could have far-reaching implications — what price should Israel pay to negotiate the return of her kidnapped and MIA soldiers?" — Asaf Romirowsky, "Where Is Ron Arad?", National Review, March 17, 2004
  • direct confrontation: We tried to avoid direct confrontation.
  • distance of {distance}: The fire closed to a distance of fifty feet.
  • dive down: I hope that bird doesn't dive down at my head again.
  • downward: The skydiver hurtled downward like a stone. (not redundant if used as an adjective)
  • drop down: Drop down and give me fifty, soldier!
  • during the course of: He never smiled during the course of the trial.
  • dwindled down: By then, the fire had dwindled down to nothing.
  • dynamic range: The camera could not record the dynamic range of illumination. ("Dynamic range" is also a non-redundant technical term among audiophiles. Its use here is more mistaken than redundant.)

E

  • each and every: God bless each and every one of you.
  • earlier in time: The Beatles were popular earlier in time than the Rolling Stones.
  • either and/or both: "Either and/<s>or both of these reports (depending on the number of class hours missed) must be submitted within seven days of the absence." — Division of Nursing: NURS 4321 Professional Nursing with Groups/Populations, Summer 2006 Course Syllabus, West Texas A&M University, retrieved 10 July 2006
  • empty space: There's nothing but <s>empty space between those ears.
  • end result: The end result was inflation.
  • enter into: Bacteria can enter into a wound.
  • equal to one another: Before the law, we are equal to one another.
  • equally as: "The adverb equally is generally regarded as redundant when used in combination with as. In an earlier survey, 63 percent of the Usage Panel found the following examples unacceptably redundant: Experience is equally as valuable as theory. Equally as important is the desire to learn. To eliminate the redundancy, equally should be deleted from the first example and as from the second. The solution to this usage problem usually involves using as alone when a comparison is explicit and equally alone when it is not." — "Equal: Usage note", The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, July 12, 2006
  • eradicate completely: We won't rest until we eradicate them completely.
  • established fact: Bigfoot is an established fact.
  • estimated at about/around/approximately: Casualties are estimated at about 1000.
  • every now and then: Every now and then the faucet drips.
  • exact opposites: They are twins, but exact opposites.
  • exactly right/correct/etc.: That's exactly the right advice.
  • exact[ly the] same/identical/etc.: No two fingerprints are exactly the same.
  • extra bonus: Due to him working work after the law firm had closed for the night, he received an extra bonus. NOTE: the term "extra bonus" is only redundant if the person has received one bonus; with more than one bonus involved, the phrase ceases to be redundant: a bonus that is additional to the first one was received.

F

  • face up to: You should face up to the facts.
  • fall down: If you trip, you might fall down. (But "down" is needed in "Fall down the stairs." Cf. "descend down", and their mirror image, "climb up", above,)
  • fall season: The leaves turn red and gold in the fall season.
  • false pretenses: He's here under false pretenses. (Many would not consider this redundant, since "false" in this usage means "bearing ill will" or "dishonest", not "untrue", so the fact that pretend things aren't real is of no relevance.)
  • feel inside: Nobody knows how I feel inside. (Unless one is distinguishing between feeling emotions and feeling with one's skin.) (Compare inner feelings below.)
  • fellow classmates/co-workers/comrades/etc.: I'd enjoy a reunion with my fellow classmates.
  • few in number: They were few in number, but mighty.
  • filled to capacity: The stadium was filled to capacity.
  • financial accounting
  • first began: We were alive when the century first began.
  • first and foremost; first of all: Idiomatic. "first and foremost. Also, first of all. Most important, primarily; also, to begin with. For example, First and foremost, I want to thank our sponsors, or What we need, first and foremost, is a new secretary, or We have to deal, first of all, with the early history. The first term, dating from the late 1300s, is redundant, since first and foremost mean virtually the same thing. Both it and the variant, which dates from the mid-1500s, are used to give emphasis to the initial item in a list of several." — Christine Ammer, "First and foremost", The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms, July 12, 2006. </blockquote>
  • first time ever: We have a pig in space for the first time ever.
  • fit enough: whether they are fit enough for labor. (Fitness is not an absolute in some contexts and therefore this expression is not necessarily redundant).
  • focus in: I'm trying to focus in on that sound.
  • follow after: He decided to follow after her to California.
  • for free: The shoes were offered for free.
  • foreign imports: "The rise in foreign imports, the argument goes, is forcing some Americans to accept lower pay to remain competitive with, say, Mexican and Chinese workers." — "Survey: Pay – Winners and losers", The Economist, May 6, 1999
  • forever and ever: It's you and me, forever and ever.
  • forward planning: Forward planning puts the mind at ease.
  • free gift: Receive a free gift with every purchase.
  • free pass: I won a free pass to the movies. (There could, however, be a kind of pass that is not free, but the expression is redundant if the pass is won at no cost).
  • from whence: Go back from whence you came. (This is usually formulaic and archaic, but still crops up. Whence means from where; hence from whence is both redundant and pleonastic.)
  • future plans: We discussed our future plans long into the night. (Unless one is distinguishing between already attempted or in-progress plans, on the one hand, and those not yet attempted, on the other.)

G

  • gather together: The family would gather together every year.
  • gather up: I gathered up all the MP3 files on my hard drive into one folder. (In highly descriptive prose, especially of a character's physical movements, this may not be redundant - the phrase implies "gathering and picking up" rather than simply gathering, e.g. on the ground. In the example provided here it is redundant because it was used in a context where there is no such physical action or metaphoric analogue.)
  • general conclusion/custom/pattern/etc.: My general conclusion is that the general custom is to shake with the right hand. (Not redundant if one is trying to highlight the fact that there are exceptions to the conclusions.)
  • general public: We don't sell to the general public.
  • genetic clone/mutant: "The suckers, or sprouting corms, [of the banana] are genetic clones of the parent plant." — "Building A Better Banana" by Craig Canine, Smithsonian Magazine, October 2005
  • get up on one's feet: The assembly watched as he got up on his feet.
  • glowing ember: We watched until the last glowing ember faded.
  • golden wedding anniversary: They celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. (Unless to distinguish from other kinds of anniversaries.)
  • Groupset A group or set of components for a bike.
  • got: see have/has got below.

H

  • had done previously: We tore down everything we had done previously.
  • hard facts: The detective was looking for the hard facts. (Many would say this is not redundant, but simply evocative, since the meaning of "hard" and "fact" do not overlap in any clear way. It is certainly a tired cliché that no longer evokes much of anything, however.)
  • have/has got: "You've got mail." Proper usage would be "You have mail". (Not redundant when distinguishing between possession on one's person from ownership, or is indicative of having performed an action as opposed to being in present possession; contrast "I got our lunch an hour ago, and I’ve got $2 left" with "I’ve got our lunch in my hand, and by the way I have $47,000 saved".)
  • he himself: (See "I myself", below)
  • heat up: She decided to heat up water for coffee.
  • high noon: We're leaving at high noon. (However, "high noon" can mean when the sun crosses the local meridian, as opposed to noon on local clocks).
  • high time: It's high time I got some sleep.
  • honest truth: That's the honest truth of the matter.
  • hot water heater: We had to install a new hot water heater.
  • hours of {timespan}: The store is open between the hours of 8 AM and 5 PM.

I

  • I[...]personally: I was there , personally.
  • I myself; you yourself/yourselves; he himself; she herself; we ourselves; they themselves: "I myself was certain of the facts." — "Myself", The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition (online), 12 July 2006. (This use of an intensive pronoun, while indeed redundant, uses the redundancy for emphasis, and some consider it standard English.)
  • indicted on a charge of: He was indicted on a charge of manslaughter.
  • in actual fact: In actual fact, I walked there.
  • inner core: Who are you, in your inner core?
  • inner feelings: You must get in touch with your inner feelings. (May not be redundant if the advisor is distinguishing between the conscious and subconscious.) (Compare feel inside above.)
  • in order to: We opened the door in order to enter.
  • integral part of: He is an integral part of our success. (If "integral" is meant to be stressed, one can use "he was integral to our success" instead.)
  • interconnected: A society has millions of people, all interconnected. (Not always redundant; for example, the Internet is "interconnected" because the machines in it can (mostly) communicate with each other; but a more linear top-down network would simply consist of machines that were "connected").
  • interweave/interwoven: Fabric usually consists of many interwoven threads. (Not redundant when used figuratively.)
  • introduced a new: We introduced a new product to the line.
  • introduced for the first time: We were introduced for the first time a week ago.
  • inward: The lion moved inward for the kill. (In many other constructions, "inward" is not redundant, e.g. "the inward movement of the troops toward the capital city was inexorable.")
  • inward into: We went inward into the nightclub.
  • irregardless: She loved him irregardless.
  • is currently: (see "are currently", above)

J

  • join/assemble/meet/etc. together: We'll join these boards together with glue.
  • join up: (see "meet/join up", below)
  • just exactly/precisely/barely etc.: I have just exactly the right amount of money. (Not redundant where "just" means "barely" itself, as in "I have just enough to get by"; but clearly redundant when the modified adjective precludes any variation, e.g. "exactly", or already includes the "barely" concept.)
  • just recently: We met just recently. (Some would say this is not redundant and that "just" is synonymous with "very" in this context.)
  • just[...]the other/last/etc. day/week/etc.: We just met in person the other day, after corresponding online a lot just last month." (The first form is often not redundant, especially when "just" by itself is too vague to be helpful in the context; e.g., does "I just saw her" mean 5 minutes ago or 3 days ago?) It is redundant when the exact time is of no relevance, or is known.)

K

  • kill[...]dead: "I killed that varmint dead!"
  • kneel/knelt down: The king had all kneel down before him.
  • know for sure/for certain: "I know for sure that he didn't do it."
  • kudzu vine: The southern USA is blanketed with kudzu vine".

L

  • last of all: And last of all, we have no flour left.
  • left behind: Was your hat left behind at the restaurant?
  • left-hand: Take a left-hand turn at the next light.
  • leftward: Turn leftward down that street.
  • lift up: She lifted up her dress to avoid the mud.
  • linger on: The scent of her perfume would linger on.
  • little bit/smidgin/pinch, etc.: (see "tiny", below)
  • local residents: He was among the local residents of Hogwaller.
  • located in/on/at/etc.: Burnaby is a city located in British Columbia.
  • look back in hindsight/retrospect: "And looking back in hindsight, we believe members of Congress should have been briefed on it sooner." — Scott McClellan, "Press Briefing by Scott McClellan", Office of the Press Secretary, The White House, February 22, 2006
  • lose out on: I don't want to lose out on my chance to go.
  • lots of different: (see "bunch of different", above)

M

  • main focus: Redundancies are the main focus of my essay. (Something can only have one focus; if it seems to have two or more it may have multiple subjects, but cannot have multiple foci, by definition.)
  • main protagonist: (See "chief/main protagonist", above)
  • major breakthrough: It was a major breakthrough in genetic research.
  • many different: There were many different people at the party.
  • mass media: The mass media thrive on scandal. (Not redundant in a context where alternative media outlets are being contrasted with the major players.)
  • may possibly: That may possibly be the greatest blunder of all.
  • meet together: (see "join together", above)
  • meet/join up: Let's meet up after lunch to discuss the proposal
  • mental telepathy: Do cats really use mental telepathy?
  • merged together: Acme and Fuddco would prosper if merged together.
  • meshed together: The fabric is gold and silk meshed together.
  • midnight hour: I'll kiss you at the midnight hour. (Not necessarily redundant; see "noon hour".)
  • midway between: On the highway from Heaven to Hell, Life is about midway between.
  • might possibly: We might possibly attend the party.
  • migraine headache: This medicine can cause a migraine headache.
  • milky way galaxy: The Milky Way Galaxy is beautiful. (galaxias, from which the word is derived, means "milky way.")
  • miss out on: I don't want to miss out on my chance to go.
  • mix together: Mix the ingredients together until the batter is smooth.
  • moment in time: At this particular moment in time, the position is... (Not redundant in physics, where it is necessary to distinguish moments in time from moments of inertia.)
  • mutual cooperation: Competition can be less beneficial than mutual cooperation. (This phrase is frequently not redundant, since cooperation can be given or demanded by one party but not another.)
  • mutually dependent on each other: "Well, they're mutually dependent on each other." — Lawrence Wright, "The Second Man", The New Yorker, September 16, 2002
  • my personal opinion: In my personal opinion, caviar tastes horrible.

N

  • native habitat: This plant is found throughout the animal's native habitat. (This is not a redundant usage if the being in question has been imported info an area that was not its original habitat, e.g. cane toads in Australia or eucalyptus trees in California.)
  • natural instinct: Approaching humans is not naturally instinctive behavior for bears.
  • never at any time: I was never at any time with that woman.
  • never before: No, we've never met before.
  • new beginning: 1776 marked a new beginning.
  • new bride: He went to the Catskills with his new bride.
  • new construction: We slowed for the new highway construction.
  • new record: He set a new record in the pole vault.
  • new recruit: Bloody was a new recruit for the biker gang. (Some would disagree; an Army master sergeant of 16 years is still a recruit, just not a recent one.)
  • no trespassing/fishing/etc. allowed/permitted: The sign plainly says: No trespassing allowed.
  • none at all: There's no money left, none at all. (Actually the entire phrase is redundant here!)
  • noon hour: Luncheon is served promptly at the noon hour. (Not redundant if referencing the hour between noon and 13:00.)
  • now currently: She is now currently the ambassador.
  • now pending: The case is now pending before the Fifth Circuit Court.
  • null and void: Breaking the seal made the warranty null and void. (In strict legal terms there is a difference, but if you aren't a lawyer writing in a context where this is relevant "void" will suffice in most cases.)
  • number of different: A number of different views were represented in the debate.
  • numerous/various/etc. different/separate/etc.: There were numerous different new theories advanced at the conference. (See also "{number} different", above.)

O

  • off in the distance: I can see a car coming off in the distance. (But "I hear a bomb going off in the distance" is not redundant.)
  • off of: Please keep the cat off of the couch. (Cf. its mirror image, "onto", below)
  • officiated at the ceremony: Mayor Perkins officiated at the ceremony.
  • old adage/cliché/proverb: There is an old adage for every occasion.
  • old pioneer: That was back in the old pioneer days, before statehood.
  • one and the same: Santa and Saint Nick are one and the same person.
  • onto: Put my cat back onto the couch, since I own that too. (Cf. its mirror image, "off of", above)
  • onward: We pushed onward into the jungle.
  • orbits around: "Be Cool, the lackluster sequel to Get Shorty—both based on titular novels written by Elmore Leonard—orbits around the galaxy of popular stars clustered by production company MGM." — Susan E. McGregor, Kristina M. Moore, and Scoop A. Wasserstein, Movie Review: Be Cool, The Harvard Crimson, March 18, 2005
  • or alternatively: We can either do this now or alternatively leave it for tomorrow.
  • originally created/discovered/etc.: Man was originally created in God's image, without tattoos.
  • outward: She went outward into the night. (In many other constructions, "outward" is not redundant, e.g. "the outward flow of heat from the body is responsible for hypothermia.")
  • over and over again: He said it over and over again. ("over and over" itself is redundant and can be replaced with "repeatedly".)
  • over and done with: Let's get it over and done with.
  • over exaggerate: He tends to over exaggerate his accomplishments.
  • over with: Can't we just get this over with?

P

  • pair of twins: He's the proud father of a pair of twins.
  • passing fad: Computers are just a passing fad.
  • past experience: We know from past experience that weakness breeds contempt.
  • past memories: I have no past memories of that event.
  • peace and quiet: "Let's have some peace and quiet while I am writing." (Technically, this is even more redundant than it seems, as "quiet" in this usage means not "silence" but "peacefulness". [source] Some would consider this simply an idiomatic case of emphasis rather than a redundancy, while yet others would say it is neither, today, but simply a cliché because most of us do not otherwise use "quiet" in this way any longer.)
  • past record[s]/history/etc.: We'll have to check our past records to confirm that. (Cf. "prior record/history/etc." below, in which "record" is a mass noun not a count noun.)
  • penetrate into: We decided to penetrate into enemy territory.
  • perfect ideal: Donald Duck is not the perfect ideal of manhood.
  • period of {timespan} : The disease incubates for a period of ten days.
  • period of time: Horses were absent throughout that period of time.
  • permeate [all] through[out]: The smell in your shoes has permeated all throughout our home.
  • personal belongings: Please check your search for any personal belongings you may have left behind.
  • personal charm: You'll need more than personal charm to succeed.
  • personal friendship: I truly value our personal friendship.
  • personal opinion: In my personal opinion, canaries are quite tasty.
  • per usual: The baseball players were wearing caps, as per usual. (Possibly not redundant, simply incorrect.)
  • pitch black: It was pitch black in the belly of the fish. (Some would say this is not a redundancy, but rather a florid description that has become a cliché now that most people no longer know what pitch is. In many contexts black is actually a multitude of subtle shades; cf. any closet full of "black" clothing.)
  • pizza pie: I could really go for a fresh Chicago-style pizza pie.
  • plan ahead: Failure to plan ahead is risky.
  • p.m. in the evening/in the afternoon/at night: We returned at 2 p.m. in the afternoon.
  • point in time: At this point in time, it is unclear what has happened.
  • postpone/put off, until later: Without knowing how to proceed we'll have to postpone this until later.
  • precise/precisely [the] same/identical/etc.: (see "exact[ly the] same/identical/etc.", above)
  • preplan: If you preplan your funeral, it won't come as such a surprise.
  • prerecorded: The following is a prerecorded program.
  • present incumbent: The present incumbent will likely be re-elected.
  • prior record/history/etc.: He had a prior history of burglary arrests. (Common language in legal and medical professions. The phrase clarifies diagnoses, arrests, etc, made previous to the case being referred to. Not redundant in some past-tense constructions. Cf. "past record[s]/history/etc." above, in which "record" is a count noun not a mass noun.)
  • probed into: The committee probed into the causes of the crash.
  • proceed ahead: I vote that we proceed ahead with our plans.
  • protest against: The group assembled to protest against high prices.
  • protrude out: Why do your eyes protrude out like that?

R

  • raise up: It's a great place to raise up your kids.
  • random chance: Winning at roulette is a matter of random chance.
  • rate of speed: At that rate of speed, they'll lose the regatta.
  • reason why: The reason why I did that is simple. (When reason is a noun, the why is unnecessary - it is only used in some instances when reason is a verb.)
  • recur again: Her fever would recur again at regular intervals.
  • Redundancy Society of Redundancy
  • reflect back: Perhaps you should reflect back on why you joined the army.
  • repeat again: I wouldn't care to repeat that again.
  • reply back: I'll expect your reply back within a day.
  • revert back: Any moment he'll revert back to his old ways.
  • rightward: Turn rightward, down that street.
  • right over: Put it right over here. (Not redundant when used to indicate time, as in "Be patient, I'll be right over.")
  • right now: I don't feel like going to a movie right now. (Not redundant when used for stress, as in "Clean your room RIGHT NOW!")
  • right-hand: Take a right-hand turn at the next light. (it could, however, be argued that the right [ie correct] side is not the righthand side in some situations, eg driving in the United Kingdom)
  • rightward: Turn rightward, down that street.
  • rise to one's feet: He rose to his feet and addressed the assembly.
  • rise up: Rise up, my fellow Americans, and demand a vote re-count.
  • rough estimate/approximation/guess/etc.: I only need an rough estimate of the costs. (May not be redundant, in a context where estimates are usually more detailed or accurate and/or more time-consuming than the speaker desires now.)
  • rough rule of thumb: "A rough rule of thumb is that your knees and elbows should form right angles." — "Preventing RSI", Harvard RSI Action, referenced July 10, 2006
  • rustic country: She loved her rustic country kitchen.

S

  • safe haven: They ran for the forest, searching for a safe haven.
  • same identical: The wore the same identical dress. (Cf. "exact[ly the] same/identical/etc.", above)
  • seek out/to find: I seek to find truth, while you just seek out entertainment.
  • separate[...]out: Always separate the whites out from the colors when doing laundry.
  • separate entities: You're married, but we are still separate entities.
  • share together: I'm glad we could share this time together.
  • short summary: To provide a short summary of the book. (However, a summary that is particularly "short" is properly called a short summary. There is a big difference between a summary lasting two sentences and a summary lasting five paragraphs.)
  • shrug one's shoulders: He shrugged his shoulders.
  • sink down: The ship sank down to bottom of the lake.
  • situated in, situated on, situated at, etc.: Qualicum Beach is a town situated in British Columbia.
  • skipped over: The disease skipped over a generation.
  • so as to: Mother called him Junior, so as to avoid confusion when addressing his father.
  • soaked to the skin: Tom and Huck were soaked to the skin. (Contrast with "chilled to the bone", which while florid and equally cliché conveys a different meaning than just "chilled", except when used metaphorically in reference to fear, in which case it IS redundant.)
  • Society of Redundancy Society
  • some time to come: We'll eat beans for some time to come.
  • so therefore: We had very little time; so<s> therefore or so <s>therefore<s>, we had to make up our minds quickly.
  • specific details: We will supply <s>specific details by mail. ("More specific details" is not redundant in the context prior details being given.)
  • spell out in detail: I was guilty, and decided to spell it out in detail.
  • spring season: When the spring season arrives, I think about boys a lot.
  • stacked together: There they were, stacked together like cordwood.
  • stand up on one's feet: The assembly watched as he stood up on his feet.
  • stand [up] on one's own [two] feet: Getting her first job made her feel that she could finally stand upon her own two feet.
  • start out: Well, I didn't start out as a hoodlum.
  • start off with: The Yanks started off with Berra.
  • still persists / remains / lingers / etc.: Even after all these setbacks, she still persists.
  • subject matter: That subject matter isn't fit for children. (This is not always redundant; the subject of sexuality may be appropriate for children when their parents talk with them cautiously and educationally about it; most of the same parents would say that sexual subject matter - i.e. publications, photos, etc. - remained inappropriate. If one is not making this distinction, then the usage is indeed redundant.)
  • sufficient enough: That should be sufficient enough reason for you to quit.
  • summer season: During the cold I look forward to the summer season.
  • swoop down: The wind whistles in their wings when they swoop down.

T

  • talking out loud: We'll have no talking out loud in this library.
  • temporary reprieve: The storm was a temporary reprieve from the heat.
  • therapeutic treatment: My swelled knee required special therapeutic treatment.
  • these ones: "Please take these ones from my lap." [3]
  • they themselves: (See "I myself", above)
  • thorough investigation: You will do a very thorough investigation, won't you? (Not redundant in the context of there having been a previous, shoddy investigation.)
  • those ones: "Please hand me those ones from the table over there." [4]
  • time clock: "Like most people who earn $1,000,000 per year, Chadwick doesn't punch a time clock and simply pick up a check for 20 grand every week." — Mark Goldblatt, "Supply Side 101: For those (liberals) who love taxes", The National Review, April 17, 2006. Note: While indeed redundant — a clock is a device for telling time — the phrase time clock or time-clock is a specific kind of clock used to record the hours that employees work, usually by punching time-cards,[5][6] as opposed to simply clock, which is the generic time-keeping device. In the above example, the presence of the verb "punch" indicates exactly the device referred to; however, in other circumstances, confusion may result from using the generic clock. Compare "I bought a new clock for the office" with "I bought a new time clock for the office."
  • time period: The book doesn't cover that time period.
  • tiny/little/etc. bit/smidgin/pinch/etc.: "I would like at the very end to give you the schedule of the President for the upcoming week and, as an extra added bonus, I'll go a tiny bit even into the week following that." — Ari Fleischer, "Press Briefing by Ari Fleischer", Office of the Press Secretary, The White House, February 9, 2001
  • tip-top: This car is in tip-top condition.
  • together at the same time: Imagine, all the Beagle Boys together at the same time.
  • totally destroy: The nuke didn't totally destroy the comet, just broke it in two.
  • true facts: You swear those are the true facts? (This is not a redundancy in formal logic, where the term "fact" has a more specialized meaning, and facts can be proven false.)
  • tuna fish: I had a tuna fish sandwich. (Note that "tuna" is also a form of edible prickly pear, so this phrase is not always redundant, such as if both were available at the same restaurant.)
  • twelve midnight: Be home by twelve midnight.
  • twelve noon: Let's have lunch at twelve noon sharp.

U

  • unconfirmed rumour: "Something of the same despair which the crowds evinced two weeks ago spread as an unconfirmed rumor was circulated that Lindbergh had been forced down." — Edwin L. James, "Crowd Roars Thunderous Welcome: Breaks Through Lines of Soldiers and Police and Surging to Plane Lifts Weary Flier from His Cockpit", The New York Times, May 22, 1927
  • undeniable truth: 1 + 1 = 2 is an undeniable truth.
  • undergraduate student: "The OFA announced plans to employ an undergraduate student to study black artists and art groups on campus, and to possibly recommend a program of support for black artists." — Daniel P. Mosteller, "OFA Will Hire Student Intern to Assist Black Arts Program", The Harvard Crimson, September 29, 1999. Note: Some consider the "nouning" of adjectives like this aesthetically displeasing, as "corrosive" to language; compare "plastic" which has almost totally lost its original adjectival meaning except among potters & sculptors and in medicine. Also note that graduate student is not redundant, as a graduate is anyone, currently a student or otherwise, who has graduated from an academic program.
  • underground subway: New York has an extensive underground subway. (However, as counterintuitive as it may be, railways can still be called subways, though some of the tracks are not underground, but ground level or elevated).
  • underneath: I keep my shotgun underneath my bed.
  • unexpected surprise: "Yet daybreak brought an unexpected surprise as Taiwan learnt that word of its major quake had rattled U.S. technology stocks." — Jeffrey Parker (Reuters), "Big But Harmless Taiwan Quake Shakes Markets", The Washington Post, November 2, 1999
  • unintentional mistake: That mistake was entirely unintentional.
  • unsolved mystery: "A spate of pavement writing in Oxford remains an unsolved mystery this week, as police attempt to decipher who has been voicing their opinions on the city's streets and why." — Rodrigo Davies, "Pavement messengers remain a mystery", The Oxford Student, July 12, 2006
  • up on top [of]: Put the vase up on top of that shelf.
  • upward: Hot air moves upward.
  • usual custom: Eggnog on Christmas is our usual custom.

V

  • variety of different/separate/etc.: (see "numerous/various/etc. different/separate/etc.", above)
  • various different/separate/etc.: (see "numerous/various/etc. different/separate/etc.", above)
  • very/absolute/etc. beginning/end: "I would like at the very end to give you the schedule of the President for the upcoming week and, as an extra added bonus, I'll go a tiny bit even into the week following that." — Ari Fleischer, "Press Briefing by Ari Fleischer", Office of the Press Secretary, The White House, February 9, 2001
  • very/somewhat/totally/etc. unique: His recipe for hot chocolate was very unique.

W

  • way[, way] far away/too hot/etc.: This movie is way, way too long for my tastes.
  • we ourselves: (See "I myself", above)
  • whether or not: I wonder whether or not you're coming.
  • whole lot/bunch/etc.: There are a whole lot of leeches on my backside!
  • why come: Why come don't you come back? (The "Why" stands in lieu of its close relative, "How," in the construct "How come." Since the terms "why" and "how come" are synonymous, however, the phrase "why come" is a contracted redundancy. Note, though, that the arrangement of the balance of the sentence and of the predicate in particular, with or without auxiliary verbs such as "do" or "are" and in what order, will usually dictate the more proper preference of either "why" or "how come." Compare "Why come you have no MySpace?" with "Why come don't you have a MySpace?" for instance: the former becomes, "How come you have no MySpace?" while the latter instead changes to "Why don't you have a MySpace?".)
  • winter season: The winter season means one thing to me: skiing.
  • written down: I have written down the instructions. (Note, however, that "write down" and "write up" have different connotations, so the qualification of "down" or "up" may be necessary in context. To "write down" can mean to copy, while to "write up" suggests creation rather than copying, and can also mean "report transgressions to someone in authority".)

Y

  • years of {timespan}: (see "hours of {timespan}", above)
  • yerba maté tea: Let's order some yerba maté tea after our meal.
  • you yourself/yourselves: (See "I myself", above)
  • young boy/girl/lad/lass: A young lad is expert at mischief. (Some would object that these are not actually redundant, because they distinguish pre-pubescents from youths, and even adults in slang.)
  • young foal/colt/fawn/etc.: There she is, with her young foal.

Redundant acronym phrases

Most acronymic redundancies result from following the acronym with a word or synonym of a word that the acronym is composed of (this is known jokingly as "RAS syndrome"):

  • ABS system: All our cars come installed with an ABS system.
  • ACT/etc. test: Many students do not study hard enough for the ACT test.
  • ATM (or ABM) machine: I just need to get some money from the ATM machine.
  • CSS style sheet: We're now using CSS style sheets on our website.
  • GPS system: The government launched new satellites for the GPS system (Not always redundant; e.g. "Some of the cars are equipped with GPS systems"; the "System" latent in "GPS" refers to the satellite system, while "systems" in this sentence means "consumer devices".)
  • HIV virus: He is infected with the HIV virus<s>.
  • IRA account: I just opened an IRA <s>account<s>. (Many would argue that this is not truly rendundant but a disambiguation, because "IRA" has a much more widespread meaning that predates the existence of the U.S. tax shelter, and this other meaning often arouses an immediate strong emotional response.)
  • LCD display: The computer comes with an LCD <s>display.
  • NDP Party: The NDP Party is one of Canada's major political parties.
  • PIN/SIN/SSN/EIN/VIN/etc. number: I forgot my PIN number.
  • RAID array: Our new server is configured with a RAID array.
  • UPC code: Read the actual number below the UPC code, please.

Some acronyms contain "hidden" redundancies, which have nothing to do with how the acronyms are used; for example:

  • WASP: White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.
  • GNU: GNU's Not Unix (a recursive acronym, in which the redundancy is for humorous effect)

References

  • Individual entries, when a quote is available to source their usage in mainstream language, will be cited in situ.
  • For a fully developed treatment of redundant language see the Pleonasm article; this list does not (redundantly) cite the same sources or link to the same reference works.

See also

External links


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