Doubling Up

My dad has an eagle eye. He cares about language and not much gets past him. He forwarded this to me recently, from a prominent social media company:

You are receiving Invitation reminder email emails.

Did you see that extra word?

Of course, you could argue that reminder email is describing the emails.

When words double up, there’s nearly always some kind of justification. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good one.

After all, this could be a slippery slope. What if I wrote to tell you that:

You are receiving Invitation reminder email emails for your email account.

Slippery, indeed. While we’re talking about redundant words, keep an eye out for these common pairs:

Free gift
Natural instinct
Final result
Unexpected surprise
General consensus
Advance planning
Regular routine
Empty space

They all sound so official, don’t they? These word pairs populate advertising brochures, government news releases, and journalism stories that weren’t edited.

But is that how you want to sound? Cut out the extra words and get right to the point.

P.S. New redundant word pairs crop up all the time. What are your favourites?