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31 December 2016

Vladimir Putin and grammatical redundancy

An article in today's Financial Times discusses Russia's refusal to implement tit-for-tat (as they are called) expulsions of diplomats after Obama announced that 37 Russian diplomats were to be sent home for alleged participation in the alleged plot to compromise the US presidential election last month. But there is a serious redundancy in the quotation from the expert who comments for the FT:
'Simon Saradzhyan, director of the Russia Matters Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School, said Trump’s tweet wasn’t surprising given his past remarks and his stated goal of resetting the U.S. relationship with Russia. 
'“He has grounds to believe this is a smart move,” Saradzhyan said. “Because if Vladimir Putin had reciprocated, which is usually the norm, that would inevitably constrain Trump’s ability to maneuver because, yes, you can blame everything on the past administration.”'
     The phrase "usually the norm" is silly. Something "usual" is, by definition, "the norm". No need to say more. Reciprocation is either "the norm", or it is the "usual" course of action. Either will do; to use both is "over-egging the pudding".

     And with that a Happy New Year to all my valued readers. Enjoy your festive pudding, however many eggs it has been baked with!


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