Redundancies Run Rampant In Political Campaigns

There are a lot of redundancies to be found during election campaignsDo you sense that presidential campaigns bring out anything but the best in language use?

I realize spontaneous comments can end up sounding less than perfect, but I’ve been tracking candidates and commentators, and in my usual ruthless editor style, I feel another redundancy rant coming on.

Here’s a guideline I use when deciding if a word is redundant: If you swapped the suspected redundant word for its opposite, would the statement make sense?

It’s time to narrow down the field.

Could you narrow up the field?
No. So just narrow the field would suffice.

That will be the question from here on going forward.

Could that be the question from here on going backward?
Probably not. So either of these would work:
That will be the question from here on.
That will be the question going forward.

I had gut feeling in my stomach that he wasn’t doing well.

Could you have a gut feeling anywhere but in your stomach?
No. So either a gut feeling or a feeling in my stomach would cover it.

It had lingered on too long.

Could it have lingered off too long?
Nope. Neither off nor on add meaning.
It simply lingered too long.

He repeated the old adage once too often.

Could he have repeated the new adage once too often?
No. An adage is, by definition, an old and well-known saying that expresses a general truth.
He repeated the adage once too often.

She was welcomed by people from the town where she grew up as a child.

Could she have grown up somewhere as an adult … or as a bunny?
Of course not. We can assume that someone who is grown up got there by first being a child.
She was welcomed by people from the town where she grew up (or better yet, by people from her hometown).

He wants to be proud of the legacy he leaves behind.

A legacy is something handed down from an ancestor, a leader or a predecessor, whether it be money, property, sweet memories or a talent.
This covers it: He wants to be proud of his legacy.

For more redundancies, check out these past blogs.

And how about letting me know if you have a pet peeve redundancy.

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Kathy Watson

Kathy Watson has a love/hate relationship with grammar; she loves words and the punctuation that helps them make sense, yet she hates those pesky rules. A self-proclaimed ruthless editor, she prefers standard usage guidelines of The Associated Press Stylebook. Her easy-to-use Grammar for People Who Hate Rules helps people write and speak with authority and confidence. She encourages and welcomes questions and comments. (Email)