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September 19, 2012

Big ups to Tom Standage, editor of Economist.com

Screen Shot 2012-09-19 at 12.20.34 PM

Long story short: After at least 10 years and scores of pleas by me to editors of newpapers and magazine all over the world to cease and desist from using the idiotic phrase "Free Gift" on subscription offers and the like, Standage today listened (top) and not only heard me but jumped on the bandwagon.

I cannot begin to tell you how annoyed I am at the constant flood of "Free Gift" offers — including from The Economist, which I've contacted at least a dozen times over the years about this — indicating an inability to use the English language as it was meant to be used: redundancy-free unless intended otherwise.

In the case of "Free Gift" it's just out-and-out ignorance.

Next up: New York Times and Washington Post.

September 19, 2012 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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As flautist pointed out, it's not an oxymoron (civil war, jumbo shrimp), it's a redundancy, but you knew that. Then again, is any gift really free; how many come with strings attached?

Posted by: tamra | Sep 20, 2012 4:01:34 AM

I like (read: hate) redundancies. Reminds me of a scene in "Singin' In the Rain" when Jean Hagen as Lina Lamont utters the phrase "it ain't been in vain for nothin'". I think she says "you can be rest assured" somewhere in there too.

The widow woman took the two twins to the tooth dentist. Anybody remember when they used to call diabetes "sugar diabetes"? Maybe that was just an old southern thing - "If you don't stop a-drinkin' them Cokes you're gonna catch the sugar dy-bee-teez". (I heard that my whole Coke-drinkin' life and so far I ain't caught the sugar diabetes.)

Posted by: Flautist | Sep 19, 2012 9:35:50 PM

That irritated my mother, equally as much, 60 years ago. Unfortunately, virtue doesn't always prevail

Posted by: Richard Gambier | Sep 19, 2012 8:11:36 PM

Oxymorons are, as a species, notoriously robust. Perhaps you need to create a subset of Book of Joe titled, "tilting at windmills"?

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Sep 19, 2012 5:24:15 PM

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