Friday, April 07, 2006

Redundant All Over Again

I am amused by two grammatical errors: 1) the redundant phrase, also called a pleonasm, and 2) the misused quotation marks. Sometime I’ll discuss the later, but this about the pleonasm.

My husband and his mother are the world’s redundancy king and queen. They get irritated with me when I catch them at it, which only encourages me. I wished I had written them all down, but I’ll share my favorites:

Blue Jeans -- David argues that not all jeans are blue, therefore it is not a redundancy. I counter that when most people visualize “jeans” they see the blue variety, not the pink or orange. Can he not just say “jeans”? Of course not, that would be too efficient.

Spaghetti Noodles -- Um. Ok. As opposed to the Spaghetti Pancakes, I guess, or perhaps the Spaghetti Milkshake. Just in case you were confused.

Tuna Fish -- Hello!! Good thing you cleared that one up for me, honey. If you’d just said “tuna” I would have been so confused, “Tuna what?? Tuna dog? Tuna broccoli??”

And my all time favorite:

Color Crayons -- As opposed to the box of whites.

Lots of folks throughout history have provided us with lovely examples of this pleonastic problem:

“And that’s a self-portrait of himself, by himself.” – Richard Madeley

“It looks like being a busy weekend on the ferries, particularly Saturday and Sunday.” – Peter Powell

“It was a sudden and unexpected surprise.” Old Bailey Correspondent for BBC

“It’s déjà vu all over again.” – Yogi Berra

“Sometimes you can observe a lot just by watching.” -- Yogi Berra

“If we do not succeed, we run the risk of failure.” Dan Quayle

“When large numbers of men are unable to find work, unemployment results.” Calvin Coolidge

“Smoking can kill you, and if you’ve been killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life.” – Brooke Shields

Good thing those folks cleared that up for us. So, the moral of the story is that with just a little bit of advanced planning you can avoid the awkward predicament of the pleonasm. For some, but not others, it will be difficult, but practice will make the end result worth it, and others will be green in color with envy. Reward yourself with a free gift of tuna fish. Over spaghetti noodles.

Got it?


At Sunday, April 09, 2006 7:07:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

David's mother must have come from the Midwest. My aunts and uncles all use the same words. GB

At Sunday, April 09, 2006 1:28:00 PM, Blogger Sheryle said...

GB: No, actually, just Eastern Washington, but the culture there is very Midwestern.

GB!! Nice to hear from you. I considered calling you this past week, but didn't want to bother you. I've been praying for you and your family. God is our source of strength.

At Monday, April 10, 2006 5:41:00 PM, Anonymous lawbrat said...

I think tuna broccoli is delicious!!


At Tuesday, April 11, 2006 8:38:00 PM, Blogger Sheryle said...

Lawbrat: You would! You can wash it down with a spaghetti milkshake!


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