The Grammarphobia Blog

Redundancy redux

Q: Isn’t the term “all throughout” redundant? Shouldn’t one say “all through” or “throughout”?

A: In most cases, you could use either “all through” or “throughout” instead of a redundant “all throughout.”

But I don’t think we should consider “all throughout” all wrong in all cases. Sometimes we use a little redundancy when emphasis is needed. Some redundancies are less redundant than others.

Take, for example, the use of “ever” in a sentence like “My roses bloomed yesterday for the first time ever.” I talked in a previous blog entry about why this might be justified.

Another example is “different” in an expression like “fourteen different countries.” The word “different” is of course optional. It’s not necessary. But it might be justified, as I argued in another blog entry.

Here’s more on the subject of redundancy, in case you’re still game. There are many redundant adverbs and prepositions in some of our most common idiomatic phrases: “meet up with,” “face up to,” “try out,” “divide up,” “hurry up,” “lose out on,” and many more. Here’s a blog entry that discusses usages like these.

In other words, a redundancy isn’t always (if you’ll pardon the expression) a no-no. 

Buy Pat’s books at a local store or Amazon.com.