bkswrites

Posts Tagged ‘redundancy’

“The Single Greatest Country in the World”

In comparatives, redundancy again, thoughtless patterns on January 28, 2016 at 9:49 pm

Marco Rubio campaign ad

So it’s the turn of the third-place scrambler, the one with the fully Hispanic name, and it’s about an English error so common few of my writeous colleagues even notice any more. But I can’t ignore it. This time there isn’t even anyplace to put the excess word.

A superlative like “greatest” is already singular. There is none greater. Often, the “single” is simply misplaced as in, say, “I’d like to thank the single largest donor to my campaign,” one among many. Australia could be the greatest single-country continent, but I don’t see any other way to get to a greatest single country.

There could be great things for a country to do alone — humanitarian achievements, support for the arts, peacemaking — but then we’d probably use words like “solo” or indeed, “alone,” and use identification of the nation to modify something like “effort” or “action.” That might be too specific for a campaign ad, or indeed for this campaign over all.

Come to think of it, there is one thing I like about Rubio’s double superlative: It celebrates the current greatness of the USA, instead of asserting some vague past and greater greatness to which we might return. That may be all Rubio and his writers wanted, to distinguish their campaign from that other one that has made greatness its watchword. And there certainly isn’t any more greatness to which yet another campaign might aspire.

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“This Will Be the Best Reality TV on Television”

In redundancy again, thoughtless patterns on October 19, 2012 at 2:48 am

This subtitle is actually attached to an amazingly clever and well-constructed article. Yes, it’s another under my byline, so I get to whine about editors. It was also written and submitted when the future tense (which wasn’t mine either) was appropriate to the main title, “Next [now Last, but I realize it fits in two ways, which would have been fun] Presidential Debate.”

Never mind. Brighter lights in bigger venues than this have committed the redundancy of packing both acronym and its full form into a single sentence or phrase. It’s hardly worth taking note of the number of times each day I hear ‘X a.m. in the morning.” At the same time, this subject gives me a chance to tell of a family-favorite exchange from the heat of an argument: (Parent) ‘You’re being redundant.’ (Enraged middle-schooler) ‘Redundant back to you!

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