Monday, December 11, 2023

MLP: Repeat it again?

| January 17, 2023 1:00 AM

Like sunshine to the desk-chained office drudge, like the length of this sentence, useless words are tantamount to frustration for Your Mrs. Language Person. The Snitty Old Biddy beseeches you, Dear Readers: Give words their due meanings and heed these admonitions against repetition.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again,” say you, but don’t reiterate. Once you’ve said it, it’s completely done. Catch that? If it’s complete, it’s done. If you’re saying it again, don’t be so obvious.

The same goes for advance planning (one can’t plan in retrospect, after all) and absolute certainty. Certainty is absolute. Combining them together (oops, there it is again; can anything be combined apart?) is needless or unnecessary (but both are uncalled for).

Beware or be careful, Dear Reader, of redundancies in abbreviation. An automated teller machine is an ATM, but not an ATM machine. Neither your car’s VIN nor your SSN needs another “number,” lest you mean your Social Security number number. For the language butcher that’s an added bonus (shudder).

Do take care to avoid these common redundancies. Consider them a free gift (is it a gift if it costs?):

10 a.m. in the morning. When is a.m. not in the morning?

Where it’s at. Oh please, just don’t! That’s where it is. It’s at home.

And also, and etc. (not “ect”). They mean the same so stick to one. And. Also. Etcetera.

Raining outside. I’d love to see it rain inside. I have a sudden impulse (no!) to protest against (ah!) this same identical (ugh!) overused cliché (enough).

Return back. Unless time machines are real, one can’t return forward.

May possibly. Either it’s possible or it may be.

Autobiography of his life. A biography describes a life, not a tennis match.

Closed fist. If it’s a fist, it’s already closed.

Rectangular in shape, large in size. Rectangular or large. Shape and size are part of their definitions.

Completely unanimous. Unanimous includes everybody, so it can’t be incomplete.

Each and every. Are there each and some?

End result, sum total. A result can’t be at the beginning. A sum is a total.

Sworn affidavit. That’s what makes it an affidavit.

Safe haven, terrible tragedy. Are there dangerous havens and joyful tragedies?

My own personal opinion. Three strikes there. Your MLP feels faint.

Before MLP leaves this topic, she must warn misusers of foreign imports from abroad (another three-for-one). “Sahara” means desert in Arabic, so it’s simply “the Sahara.” The “P” in RSVP stands for plait (please) in French, so it’s not “Please RSVP,” but simply RSVP. With the web at our fingertips, one needn’t butcher any language, let alone our own.

That’s a true fact.

• • •

MLP and Sholeh Patrick are proud word nerds and columnist for the Hagadone News Network. Email them at

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