Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Redundancy (3).

Redundancy (3).

Today: Common Phrases & One-Word Redundancies.

Though many redundancies look like unique ones — the result of semiconscious writing — some are so commonplace that they’ve been all but enshrined in the language. Adept editors must be alert to such phrases as “absolute necessity,” “actual fact,” “advance planning,” “basic fundamentals,” “brief respite,” “closely scrutinize,” “collaborate together,” “completely full,” “consensus of opinion,” “entirely eliminate,” “few in number,” “free gift,” “future plans,” “interact with each other,” “mix together,” “new innovation,” “pair of ...

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Redundancy (2).

Redundancy (2).

Today: Irony vs. Error.

Samuel Johnson once advised writers to “avoid ponderous ponderosity.” His repetition of word roots, of course, was purposeful.

But many writers engage in such repetitions with no sense of irony, as in the phrases “build a building,” “refer to a reference,” “point out points,” “an individualistic individual.” In the sentences that follow, the repetitions are thoughtless errors:

o “Other issues include preserving a minimum set of state-required requirements [read ‘state-imposed requirements’ or ‘state requirements’] like class size and ...

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Redundancy (1)

Redundancy (1).

Today: Examples.

Washington Irving wrote that “redundancy of language is never found with deep reflection. Verbiage may indicate observation, but not thinking. He who thinks much says but little in proportion to his thoughts.” Those words are worth reflecting on.

This linguistic pitfall is best exemplified rather than discoursed on:

o “A woman with a permanent disability who claims she received a low test score for the law school entrance exam test because the test-givers wouldn’t accommodate her has sued them ...

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries

Miscellaneous Entries.

ready, willing, and able. In law, this set phrase traditionally refers to a prospective buyer of property who can legally and financially consummate the deal. A less common variant is “ready, able, and willing.”

reasonable; rational. Generally, “reasonable” means “according to reason; sensible.” “Rational” means “having reason.” Yet “reasonable” is often used in reference to people in the sense “having the faculty of reason” {reasonable person}. When applied to things, the two words are perhaps more clearly differentiated: “In application ...

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: redound

redound.

“Redound” now used most commonly in the verbose clichés “to redound to the benefit of” (= to benefit) and “to redound to one’s credit,” may also be used in negative senses {to redound against or to the shame of}. E.g.: “If I leave before the new villa is complete, I will have more questions to answer than I would care to deal with, and I would leave behind speculation that could redound to you.” Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Communion Blood 304 ...

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: redoubtable

redoubtable.

“Redoubtable” (= [1] venerable; or [2] fearsome) is a 14th-century loanword from the Old French “redoutable” (= dreaded). Both senses are common:

o Sense 1: “Chipperfield and a number of ‘britischer Architekten,’ as Architectural Review notes in its April 2006 issue, have been leaving a redoubtable imprimatur on Germany’s landscape.” Suzanne Stephens, “David Chipperfield Architects Combines Modernism and Classicism with a Reductive Clarity in the New Modern Literature Museum in Marbach, Germany,” Architectural Record, 1 Feb. 2007, at 102.

o Sense 2: ...

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: recreate

recreate; re-create.

A distinction is fading. “Recreate” = (1) to amuse oneself by indulging in recreation; or (2) (of a pastime) to agreeably occupy. “Re-create” = to create anew. Classically, the hyphen makes a great difference — e.g.:

o “Her days are divided between frolicking in the sand and recreating in a resort hotel.” A. Scott Walton, “Peach Buzz,” Atlanta J.-Const., 19 Mar. 1995, at E2.

o “The dining rooms feature big, open rooms and vintage signs designed to re-create the airy, energetic ...

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: reference.

reference, vb.

“Reference,” as a verb meaning “to provide with references,” is defensible. E.g.: “The cross-referenced chapter contains two subsections.”

The term has become a vogue word, however, as a synonym for “refer to” — e.g.:

o “You can add notes (10K) to your items, import, or simply reference [read ‘refer to’ or ‘cite’] external files.” Bill Howard, “Agenda: Lotus’ Answer to Information Management,” PC Mag., July 1988, at 34.

o “‘And I would simply reference [read ‘refer to’] those of you who are ...

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: regard (2).

regard (2).

Today: As a Verb in “highly regarded” and “widely regarded.”

The verb “regard” commonly appears in these two combinations.

The one phrase, “highly regarded,” is a vague expression of praise; the other, “widely regarded as,” usually leads to words of praise — though it would certainly be possible to say that someone is “widely regarded as beneath contempt.”

It’s a mistake, however, to truncate the latter phrase — to say “widely regarded” in place of “highly regarded”: “Crotty has published four novels ...

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries

Miscellaneous Entries.

recital; recitation. These words overlap, but are distinguishable. Aside from a (usually) solo musical or dance performance, “recital” may mean “a rehearsal, account, or description of some thing, fact, or incident” {a recital of all the incidents would be tedious}. “Recitation” usually connotes an oral delivery before an audience, whether in the classroom or on stage. Yet it is more often the general noun meaning “the act of reciting” — e.g.: “This continuing tension is realized in a series ...

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries.

Miscellaneous Entries.

recreational; recreative. “Recreational” is the standard adjective corresponding to the noun “recreation”; it’s about 1,000 times as common as its synonym “recreative,” a needless variant. But “recreative” is genuinely useful in the sense “tending to re-create” — e.g.: “The paradoxically destructive and recreative force of the mythical flood seemed as real to Friday’s performers as it must have to the composer.” Timothy Pfaff, “Innocence of Children Survives ‘Noah’s Flood,'” S.F. Examiner, 24 June 1995, at C1.

recriminatory; *recriminative. The latter ...

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Language-Change Index

Language-Change Index.

The third edition of Garner’s Modern American Usage reflects several new practices. Invariably inferior forms, for example, are now marked with asterisks preceding the term or phrase, a marking common in linguistics.

The most interesting new feature is the Language-Change Index. Its purpose is to measure how widely accepted various linguistic innovations have become. Such a measuring system for usage guides was first proposed by Louis G. Heller and James Macris in 1967. They noted that “usage specialists can make ...

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