Redundancy Redux

Never underestimate the tendency of people – and legally trained people, especially – to say things twice, unnecessarily.

Think before you (over-)use this.

It is superfluous here: The plaintiff seeks both compensatory and punitive damages.

To conspire necessarily involves combination or agreement with at least one other person to do something wrong. Co­- and con– come from the same Latin root indicating joint action, so you need only one of them.

Yes, the OED cites examples of co-conspirator from the 1860s, but they are in a list of co– words that are described as either rare or one-offs.

Co-conspirator, as used today, is an ugly and unnecessary creation of the Watergate years. Regrettably, it occurs in both the federal Competition Act and the Military Rules of Evidence.

More particularly
No, just particularly. It’s unqualifiable.

Better yet, avoid this weak adverb.

Pre-rolled joint
This contains two pleonastic elements.

A joint is a cigarette containing marijuana (or, as federal legislation still quaintly spells it, marihuana). A cigarette is, by definition, rolled into shape (whether by hand or by machine). There are no unrolled joints – that would just be loose weed.

Redundancy number 2 is the prefix pre-. As in formulations like pre-heated and pre-owned, that prefix adds nothing useful, because there is an implied priority to the verb. One doesn’t post-heat or post-own or post-roll.

To recapitulate, all joints are rolled in advance of smoking. And a joint is rolled anyway.

Just a joint, then.

Still remains
If something is still around, it simply remains. (and it doesn’t remain the same, either – remaining involves sameness).

Neil Guthrie (@guthrieneil)

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