Marcia Johnston’s latest endeavor, “You Can Say That Again,” is a bright and breezy foray into the redundancies of which we are all guilty.
Need an example? How about “dead body?” I saw that in a news article this morning. If the missing “John Doe” had been found alive, they would have said “John Doe was found alive.” Since John Doe is dead, they should have said, “John Doe’s body was found.” Saying “John Doe’s dead body was found” is redundant. Pretty simple, eh?
That’s the gist of Johnston’s book, which is short, simple, and laid out in 40-some pages for a quick read. I couldn’t help grinning when I recognized the redundancies I’ve seen, and those of which I am, sadly, guilty myself. You can take pleasure leaving through Johnston’s book. Unlike some imperious teachers I have had, Johnston never lectures or talks down to you. She gets her point across in a friendly, conversational way. She also pokes fun at herself by planting a few redundancies that she points out and then humorously corrects.
Her attitude is a refreshing, “Hey, look how we have all bungled these phrases.” Her point of view makes learning fun. After the introduction, Johnston breaks down her list of redundancies into adjective, noun, verb, and adverb phrases.
If nothing else, “You Can Say That Again” should help make us more aware of the phrases we use and the words we throw around carelessly. Johnston helps us sharpen our minds and eyes so we can spot redundancies and tighten our writing. And we thank her with much gratitude!
Title: You Can Say That Again: 750 Redundant Phrases to Think Twice About
Author: Marcia Riefer Johnston
Publisher: Northwest Brainstorms Publishing (April 1, 2015)