Having run across two redundant usages in one sentence this morning — forewarned and whether or not – I’ve decided to take a break from our usual political fare in favor of some fun stuff concerning language:
The problem with forewarned is that the first syllable is unnecessary. Any good warning is made beforehand.
The problem with whether or not is that you don’t need the or not. It suffices to say, for example, that you wonder whether spring will arrive early this year.
Past history is another common redundancy. All history is past.
Similarly, all plans concern the future. Hence, future plans is redundant. By the same token, funeral homes ought not promote pre-planning. After all, there’s no such thing as post-planning.
And how about actual facts? Kind of silly, right? If they ain’t actual, they ain’t facts.
Speaking of facts, a bald man, by definition, has a bald head. So, why say he’s bald-headed when bald will do?
Here are some other common redundancies, in alphabetical order:
Bouquet of flowers
Consensus of opinion
Disappear from sight
Earlier in time
Few in number
Look ahead to the future
Two equal halves
Vacillate back and forth