Stop Wasting Breath By Saying These Repetitive Phrases

We may complain about our parents asking us the same questions over and over, but let’s face it: We are all guilty of repetition. Even some of our most everyday language is repetitive. Like close proximity. Proximity means, by definition, “nearness in place.” It’s close

Now, we love words. We love language. We love how messy it all is. But, let’s face it, there’s a lot of hot air and Twitter rants out there these days, and our language could use a little cleaning up and clearing out. Here are 10 repetitive phrases we can stop wasting our breath on. The end result, er, the result is some much needed succinctness.

basic necessities

Necessities, by nature, are basic. The basics of something involve its most necessary parts.Both basic and necessity share concepts of “fundamental, indispensable, core” things. Do we really need to get down to the “core core”? Let’s just get straight to it.

unexpected surprise

We all know someone who says they hate surprises. That person probably shakes in their boots when they hear the phrase unexpected surprise.

An unexpected surprise is like a surprise twice-over. The whole point of a surprise is that it’s unexpected. And, something unexpected usually comes as a surprise. Neither are seen in advance.

personal opinion

An opinion, at its core, is personal. In fact, we define the very word as “a personal view, attitude, or appraisal.”

To say something is a personal opinion doubles down on the fact that it’s not objective, that it’s not a fact. We get it: Your thoughts are special. You don’t have to repeat yourself!

naan bread

This one concerns something that doesn’t come out of our mouths, but goes into them: naan bread.

Naan, or nan, is “an unleavened flatbread whose recipe originated in India.” The word originates from a Persian word, n?n, meaning “bread.” 

So, doesn’t that mean when someone orders naan bread at an Indian restaurant, they’re saying “bread bread?” We’re down for a double order of naan, but you don’t have to repeat yourself to get two pieces.

chai tea

You could pair your naan bread with some chai tea. Sounds delicious, right? We think so, but you also sound super repetitive.

That’s right, baristas. Chai tea comes with a double shot of redundancy. Chai means “tea.” In fact, the word tea essentially comes from chai, rooted in the Mandarin Chinese ch’a, which is “tea.”

ATM machine

Acronyms can be tricky. We get so used to them as acronyms that we forget what their letters stand for. Take ATM, for example—that is, if you remember what this machine is and what using actual cash is like.

First developed in the 1960s, the Automatic Teller Machine, or ATM for short, were invented as a way for people to take out cash without having to see a bank teller. ATMs give us cash, fast, but the redundant ATM machine? Getting cash, but not so fast.

HTML language

Some of us may have forgotten what ATM stands for. But, some of us may never have known what HTML stands for.HTML is short for Hypertext Markup Language. Developed in 1989–90, HTML is a standard way of formatting text files for making web pages—including this one.

So, similarly to ATM Machine, when someone says something is written in HTML Language, they’re saying “Hypertext Markup Language Language.” If you want to show off your computer chops, stick with HTML.

added bonus

What’s the definition of added?  “Increased the number, quantity, size, or importance.”

What’s the definition of bonus? “Something extra or additional.”

Now, put them together: added bonus. That’s like saying “extra extra.” Read all about it …

12 noon

If you ask someone for the time and they say “12 noon” or “12 midnight,” they may know their numbers—but not their words.

Noon is 12pm. Midnight is 12am. Twelve noon or midnight is like saying 12-12.

But we might forgive you this one. Because noon wasn’t always 12pm. Noon ultimately comes from the Latin phrase nona hora, or “ninth hour” of daylight. For those Romans, that was about 3pm. Some time in the Middle Ages, noon was shifted to 12pm, perhaps due to midday meals or unreliable timekeeping.

bye bye

If ever there is a word that knew how to be concise, it’s bye. By the early 1600s, bye was shortened from good-bye, which itself is shortened, by the late 1500s, from God be with ye.

Oh, bye, you had been doing such great, succinct work until we doubled you up with bye-bye, which is found in the written record by the 1630s.

The extra bye isn’t just to be redundant. For, as much as we’ve been saying bye-bye to repetitive phrases, repetition often serves a purpose. In the case of bye-bye, it makes the farewell a bit softer, fonder, and friendlier—qualities that are pretty welcome these days … so we’ll give this little repetitive cutie a pass.

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