You Were Saying . .

Every few years, certain phrases take hold in conversation and the media.  Phrases that, typically, are inaccurate, ungrammatical, redundant, nonsensical — or all of the above.   Some recent examples:

1. “The reason why…”   Saying both “the reason” and “why” is redundant: “The reason I went to bed is because I was tired,” has the same meaning as “The reason why I went to bed is because I was tired.”  Adding “why” is superfluous.

2.  “The exact same…”  If something is the “same,” adding “exact” is redundant.  Something either is the same or it is not; there are no degrees of “same.”

Why these two examples suddenly have become prevalent is a mystery.

And then there are the old standards:  Homonymns:  e.g., mistaking the word “discrete” for “discreet,” “compliment” for “complement,” and “principle” for “principal.”  Not only do newspaper editors make these errors on a daily basis, but they crop up almost as often in ad copy and even in books — especially in e-books.   One despairs.


Copyright 2012 Daniel Steven