Another Redundancy

This error is close to me because of my proximity to chickens. If you have chickens, you know not to do this, right? Bottom right.

It’s like saying a baby infant.

Contradiction or not?

When you multiply something by a hundred, you get more or bigger, right? In math class we used to add two zeros to a number to multiply it by a hundred. Well, take a look at this sentence:

The galaxies – 100 times less massive than our Milky Way – are now among the smallest known to host such big black holes.

Can you have something a hundred times less? If you can, what are you multiplying by a hundred?

Yes, the sentence is idiomatic, but still, I think it’s better to write what you mean. The sentence means one hundredth as massive.


Oh—here’s a picture:

Galaxy with inset illustration of a green spiral with jets coming out top and bottom.
Artist’s concept of a dwarf galaxy, its shape distorted, most likely by a past interaction with another galaxy, and a massive black hole in its outskirts (bright spot, far right). Image via Sophia Dagnello/ NRAO/ AUI/ NSF.

Another Diatribe Against Pronouns

I’ve mentioned this topic before. Use the search box to find more.

Don’t use pronouns if you can help it because you might face antecedent confusion. Like this funny:

I got the photo from Facebook, so I don’t have a link beyond “King of Kash.”

Not Me!

I just had to comment on this:

I can think lying down, but I have to be at least sitting to write!

At least he said “lying down” instead of “laying down.” I gotta give him that.

What are Antonyms?

Antonym is the word for “opposite” as applied to words. You probably already know that, but this version of the lesson is too good to pass up.

And in case you didn’t know (ha) synonym is the antonym of “antonym.”


A synonym is a word that has the same or a similar meaning as another word. this comic is basically a list of synonyms, except maybe the last one. What would you call that? An opinion? An adjective?

I’d have suggested “unwise” or “foolish” myself.

Maybe it’s Redundant, Maybe Not

If you’re a regular reader of this site, you know I preach against redundancy, aka unnecessary repetition. Such as “do it over again.” (Either “over” or “again,” but not both.) We call this being concise.

Well, maybe I just ran into a case where the redundancy is necessary!

After all, just “drink” all by itself implies drinking booze, right?

Compound Adjectives

You see compound adjectives done correctly a lot, so you probably get them correct yourself. You could say it’s a deep-seated habit. Here’s a guy who got it wrong:

Well, his mistake is justified. The rule is that two adjectives (or nouns used attributively) that modify a word together should be hyphenated. So we have the five-second rule about dropped food.

An adverb-adjective pair, though, usually isn’t hyphenated because the adverb modifies just the adjective. For example, we can have a very dark night, or a thoroughly spoiled custard. And “after holiday” is an adverb-adjective pair.

But sometimes that adverb-adjective pair just makes more sense as a compound adjective. “After” is an adverb, but he’s not saying that he’s doing something after the holiday; he’s saying that the bills are the after-holiday type. So here we have the uncommon case of an adverb-adjective compound.

It’s a judgement call, so think when you write.


I’ve given examples of not being concise before. Here’s another. Don’t do this. (See the previous post.)

Remember the rule: If you can leave a word out, leave it out!

A good example of Conciseness

He replaced the original with a metaphor, but still, it’s more concise…

That’s Shakespeare, by the way, in case you didn’t remember the source.