From the department of redundancy: repetitious phrases to stop using



Austin Powers famously stumbled over his introduction: Allow myself to introduce myself.
Hilarious to be sure, but the rest of us non-comedic secret agents need to stop using a plethora of redundant phrases.
Why these phrases became so commonplace is probably due to a desire for additional emphasis.
That, or perhaps they are just mistakes that stuck around?


An example: a result became an end result, which in the speakers mind carried more weight. It’s actually more proper to leave result as the outcome of a process and use interim result for milestone outcomes. And thats just the tip of the iceberg. Here are a bunch more, but don’t think that this is an exhaustive list…

Redundant phraseNotesSuggested alternative
Law and orderWith the TV show(s) bearing this name, it’s unlikely that this phrase will disappear.Simply “law” or “order” would suffice.
Assault and batteryThere may be a distinction between the words in the legal profession, but they mean the same thing.“Assault” is sufficient.
Null and voidComputer scientists differentiate these terms, but in most cases they’re the same.Usually heard in “rendered null and void,” in which case “void” is just fine.
Safe and soundCommonly used and also likely to stick around.“Safe” is just fine.
First and foremostParticularly obvious in its redundancy.“First” is sufficient, though “foremost” is a nice alternative.
Trials and tribulationsA galling cliché as well as being redundant.Be aware that “tribulations” usually has Biblical connotations, so pick the one word that works best.
Kith and kinAn old-fashioned phrase not heard much these days.“Kin” refers to one’s friends and family; so does “kith,” though it’s much less common.
Peace and quietOkay, this one is so commonplace that to rail against it is useless.Use one or the other (or just use this redundant phrase).
Cease and desistAnother phrase that likely has a distinct legal meaning.“Cease” is more commonly used alone. But, yeah, this is “correct lawyerish”.
For all intents and purposesA very common redundant phrase.“For all intents” or “serves the same purpose”
Various differentAs with the “end result” example, this one probably sprang from a desire for additional emphasis.Stick with “various” or “different,” not both; e.g., “various opportunities are available…” and “they offer different varieties…”
True factFacts are, by definition, true.Just the “fact”s, ma’am.

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