Once upon a time, many years ago, I lived in a land far far away. The land of which I speak is known as Sydney, Australia. I spent a couple of my birthdays there, and one year my mom sent me a birthday present. (Remind me to call her after this post to ask why she only sent a gift one year.)
I love gifts, so I was excited, and I headed down to the post office (which in Australia is actually up).
When I got there, my package was waiting for me, but get this: they wanted me to pay for it. I can’t remember why; I think it was customs related. But the point is that it was my birthday and this was a GIFT—and there was no way I was going to pay for my birthday gift.
Gifts, by definition, are free! That’s why they’re awesome!
And that’s why offers like this, that we see all the time, are redundant:
It’s like saying “wet water” or “famous celebrity” or “male chauvinist pig.”
(I don’t know about you, but every pig I’ve ever met has been a male chauvinist.)
When we’re writing, we want to proofread for redundancies like these because we don’t want unnecessary words weighing down our sentences.
One of the most common redundant phrases I see in my students’ papers is “The reason why I _______ is because _______.”
This can be cut down to “The reason I ______ is ______.”
Another one that cracks me up is when sentences start with “As human beings, we should ________.”
As far as I know, we are all human beings, right? Isn’t it safe to assume our reader knows that?
Or am I out of the loop? Have aliens penetrated our atmosphere?
That might explain Miley Cyrus’ abnormally long tongue.