Wednesday, June 27, 2012

As opposed to 7 a.m. at night?

This redundancy is one I'm mentioning only because it's a pet peeve of mine.  Sadly, I do catch myself saying it from time to time because I hear it so often, and then I grit my teeth as soon as I realise I've said it!  I hear this most often when people are relating a story and say, "This happened at 10 a.m. in the morning" or "I was there at 3 p.m. in the afternoon." When I hear that (depending on who the speaker is), I'll make the joke, "As opposed to 10 a.m. in the afternoon?" or "As opposed to 3 p.m. in the morning?" respectively.  It really catches people off guard, and I haven't seen one person not laugh about it (thankfully for me!).  It's one thing if you want to say, "I was there at 3 in the afternoon" or "I was there at 3 p.m.," but it's otherwise redundant to use the a.m. or p.m. with morning or afternoon, or even night, as the case may be.

Getting tired of redundancies yet?  I've only one more left to mention, so stay tuned for upcoming new topics!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Preposition woes

Before I get into my subject today, I ended up hearing another word that bugs me that relates to my post on in-law plural words.  That was the word "passerbys" as opposed to "passersby".  At least with the in-laws, it doesn't sound so bad, even if it's incorrect, because we do have the word "in-laws", but with "passerbys", that just sounds terrible.  We don't have any word "bys", so that one just sounds terrible to my ears! ;o)

Continuing with my mini-series on redundancies, today's topic has to do with duplicating prepositions.  Although it's much more acceptable these days to end sentences with prepositions (phrasal verbs notwithstanding), many people stick to what they were taught growing up, and that has just become habit.  What's funny to me, though, is that because we often learn language by mimicking phrases and words we heard adults say growing up, some people don't realise what it is they're actually saying.  Normally, you might hear someone say

This is not a person with whom I'd like to contend

As you can see, the with is properly placed in this sentence if trying to avoid ending the sentence with that preposition.  However, sometimes I'll hear people say something like

This is not a person with whom I'd like to contend with

I think we become used to saying particular phrases that we stop remember what part of speech they are and then end up with sentences like these.  These kinds of redundancies entertain me more than anything, but just in case this is something you do and want to fix, I thought I would point it out!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Of redundancies

I think I'll put a few smaller posts about redundancies, partly because it's not nice to have to read too much text but also because there are so many ways to be redundant that I think it will be more sensible to organise my posts this way.

One of the redundancies that's a bit of a pet peeve for me is when I hear people use the re- prefix and use the word again in the same.  For example, I'd like to re-write that exam again. The use of the prefix actually already entails the fact that you are writing something again.  You could say either, I'd like to re-write that exam, or I'd like to write that exam again.  They mean the same thing.  The only exception would be if you've already re-written the exam once, but then you re-write it yet another time, so there would be more than 1 re-write after the original writing of the exam.  Usually, that's not the context in which I hear people use the re- prefix, however.  Stay tuned for more on redundancies!