It’s been ages since I was last pedantic around here. We’re well overdue some pedantry.
On that note, I give you four words: equally, as, but, and yet.
I suppose I could have stretched this into two separate posts, as two separate misuses of language are bugging me. But they’re very similar instances, so we might as well get them over with in one go.
‘As’ can be a conjunction or an adverb. In this post, I’m only referring to the adverb form, which happens to be a synonym of ‘equally’. As synonyms, these words can be used interchangably at certain times. But because they’re synonyms, they never need to be used together. So I can say:
‘Poor spelling bothers me. I am equally bothered by shoddy grammar.’
‘Poor spelling bothers me. I am as bothered by shoddy grammar.’
However, if I were to say:
‘Poor spelling bothers me. I am equally as bothered by shoddy grammar’ , it would be wrong. Redundant. Totally unnecessary. ‘Equally as’ is not a phrase. It is two adverbs which mean completely the same thing being shoved together for no reason. It’s like saying,
‘The baby cried loudly noisily for its mother.’
Erm… why would you ever say that? One of those adverbs is more than enough. (In fact, you don’t need it at all with a better verb choice, but that’s a different subject…) Every time I hear someone say ‘equally as’ it grates on me in the way that last sentence hopefully grates on you. Two words that mean the same thing do not need to be side-by-side in a sentence.
Which brings me to my next bugbear. ‘Yet’ and ‘but’, when both used as conjunctions, should never be seen together either, yet people still do this.
Note how I didn’t say ‘… but yet people still do this,’ which would be akin to saying,
‘He bought two apples and plus an orange.’
Two conjunctions should never be next to each other, much less when they mean the same thing. It turns an otherwise acceptable sentence into nonsense. Just think of that the next time you’re tempted to say ‘but yet’ in any context. The sentence you’re about to utter will be rendered nonsensical in grammatical terms.
And if grammatical sense doesn’t matter to you, all I can do is sigh, slump my shoulders, and walk away muttering to myself. It wouldn’t be the first time.