Another reason why not

As I wrote on Oct. 20 in Ours not to reason why, it’s redundant to use reason, why and because in the same sentence referring to the same cause or explanation; generally, one of those words will do. Here’s a trifecta of redundancy — a sentence that unnecessarily uses all three. In the Nov. 10 issue of The New Yorker, Margaret Talbot quotes the defeated New Hampshire Senate candidate Scott Brown:

 “One of the reasons why I have been so adamant about closing our border,” he said, “is because if people are coming through normal channels — can you imagine what they can do through a porous border?”

Granted, we all tend to be far less grammatically precise in speaking than in writing, and Brown was speaking.  But journalists need to be doubly, if not triply, alert to redundancy in their writing. Of course we would not change a quote, but Brown would have sounded far better if he’d said:

“One of the reasons why I have been so adamant about closing our border is because that if people are coming through normal channels — can you imagine what they can do through a porous border?”

 

 

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