Thursday, September 2, 2010

Redundancy: No Such Thing as a Free Gift?

@JillVanWyke (hello to all her students at Drake University!) sent in this photo and wrote:
"Here's a redundancy that bugs me. As if anybody pays for their gifts!"
Good point! When an expression uses extra words to convey superfluous information, we say that it is redundant. We run into redundancies so often that we become almost deaf and blind to them. That's a true fact. I live in close proximity to the school. She cut the cake exactly in half. Let's meet at 3pm in the afternoon.

As Jill points out, "free gift" is redundant because a gift, by definition, is always free. Heck, all kindergartners know that. And the little darlings will keep believing it until they grow up and become consumers. Then they'll realize that marketers often say "free" when they really mean "if you meet our conditions."

Turns out that you won't get that very snazzy Ultronic Laser Level unless you buy a subscription to Time magazine. And that means that "free gift" is not only redundant but a big, honking lie.

Correction: Gift With Purchase

1 comment:

  1. "...heading Eastbound."