Mighty Red Pen

January 1, 2007

Ado versus adieu

Filed under: Word wars — mighty red pen @ 10:10 am

Prospero año nuevo, everyone, and happy birthday to Mister MRP!

An urgent missive from Frida’s Big Gay Dad:

For some strange reason, Frida’s Other BGD thinks this would be an excellent entry in your blog . . . but I think that he is the only one that believes anyone has said mistakenly “without futher adieu” when they mean “without further ado.”

Far be it from MRP to come between Frida’s two dads, and Dad Mike is certainly not the first one ever to make this mistake, but here’s the thing: an adieu is goodbye in French, an ado is a fuss.  And so, the expression is “without further ado” and not “without further adieu.” Just as it is “much ado about nothing” and not “much adieu about nothing.”

It does strike MRP, however, that there would just be sometimes when you could wish someone goodbye without further adieu.

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21 Comments »

  1. “Without further ado” must be abolished from all public speaking!! (Yes, MRP, that warrants two exclamation points.)

    It’s just filler, when speakers don’t know how to wrap up their comments. But when they finish their little speech or talk or toast by saying “without further ado” they are undermining the importance of everything they just said.

    The most cringe-worthy example is one I have seen way too many times and have also been a victim of myself. A special guest is being introduced, his/her credentials and awards are rattled off, other impressive biographical info, and then the introducer wraps it up with, “so without further ado, please welcome Gopher.”

    So my professional background/cred is all just a bunch of “ado?” Why not just say, “but enough of that bulls#*t, let’s see if the real thing measures up to the hype.”

    If presenters really understood and thought about what the expression meant, they would never use it.

    Comment by Gopher — January 2, 2007 @ 1:28 pm | Reply

    • While I agree, it can be relevant. For instance, I have a blog post about going to the a fair whilst on a trip to visit my father. The entire post is actually about how I hurt my hand carving soapstone and I end “without further ado” with a series of pictures from the fair without actually discussing it at any length. Thus, it becomes ironic as the fair isn’t actually the point of the post but rather the injury. So let’s not go about calling for it’s abolition, let us instead refrain from using the phrase pointlessly.

      Comment by TerminalSix — January 6, 2011 @ 6:19 pm | Reply

  2. Yeah, it’s sort of a fancy way of saying “blah blah blah” or “yadda yadda yadda.” What if the introducer said, “And yadda yadda yadda, please welcome Gopher”?

    Comment by mightyredpen — January 7, 2007 @ 4:32 pm | Reply

  3. Gopher is exactly right. It is fillerthat is used thoughtlessly and reflexively. Another “like”, as if we needed one.

    Comment by Harry — January 10, 2007 @ 3:06 pm | Reply

  4. Gopher,

    I would /love/ to introduce someone someday and say “… but enough of that bulls@#t, let’s see if the real thing measures up to the hype.”

    Oh, that is… too, too good.

    And as an occassional public speaker myself, I would adore anyone who introduced me that way.

    Comment by David — January 10, 2007 @ 5:07 pm | Reply

  5. I’m wondering if the more undermining thing is the listing of impressive credentials and then introducing someone named Gopher.

    Comment by Frida's Big Gay Dad — January 12, 2007 @ 4:38 pm | Reply

  6. Who is Gopher? :)

    Comment by Gopher — May 27, 2007 @ 10:33 pm | Reply

  7. I believe that, “Frida’s Big Gay Dad” was referring to Congressman Fred Grandy who also played “Gopher” on the Love Boat…

    http://www.nndb.com/people/908/000024836/

    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0334948/

    Comment by Captain Stubing — November 28, 2007 @ 12:26 am | Reply

  8. Yeah, there is no real definition of “ado”. It’s like “stuff”. :)

    Introductions work best when the credentials are given first, and the name, last, as the person introduced rises for applause as they stroll to the podium, IMHO.

    Like this:

    “Our Secretary’s report will be given by the only one of us to travel all the way to the San Francisco office to get a pad of sticky notes when we were out, a real team player, Martha!”

    Comment by Douglas (Dana) Goncz, CPS — November 7, 2009 @ 5:45 am | Reply

  9. Strictly speaking, “without further adieu” means “without further goodbye”. Unless you have actually been saying goodbye to someone, and have now come to the end of your farewells, this makes no sense.

    Comment by Denis — January 5, 2010 @ 8:57 am | Reply

  10. Doesn’t the word “ado” mean ‘bother’? So it’d be… “without further bother”.

    Source: Microsoft Word 2007 Dictionary

    =P

    Comment by -J- — January 30, 2010 @ 3:39 pm | Reply

  11. [...] ~~~ *Pet peeve o’ the day:  When people spell it “ado.”  Learn the difference, dammit! [...]

    Pingback by Unloading « KateOhKatie blogs — July 21, 2010 @ 4:58 pm | Reply

    • From everything I can gather, it depends on what you mean.

      Ado is for when there is to be no more fuss, busy activity or bother before getting to your point.

      Adieu would be appropriate when you are leaving but taking a long time to get going.

      Do you see what I am saying? They’re both correct, when used in the correct context.

      That said, without further adieu, I’m out of here.

      Comment by TerminalSix — January 6, 2011 @ 6:22 pm | Reply

      • @TerminalSix, Strictly speaking, the correct idiom is “without further ado,” — “without further adieu” is what’s sometimes called an eggcorn (“substitution of a word or phrase for a word or words that sound similar or identical in the speaker’s dialect.” –Wikipedia) and not considered “correct.” More here: http://eggcorns.lascribe.net/english/93/adieu/

        Having said that, I actually think that “without further adieu” is kind of a creative eggcorn and don’t myself endorse actually abolishing it, as I think it’s kind of an amusing play on words in the context you describe. But if you’re among strict prescriptivists, they might scorn its usage.

        Comment by mighty red pen — January 7, 2011 @ 7:12 pm

    • I The proper form is “without further ado”; an ado is a hubub, bustle, flurry, or fuss. Another common phrase, from the title of a Shakespeare play, is “much ado about nothing.” As the Websters dictionary plainly puts it, it is a “time-wasting bother over trivial details “. It is possible to see how some people could mistakenly believe that the word “adieu” is correct due to the meaning, goodbye. For example, if people want to leave without further excessive farewells, it may seem logical to say something such as “without further adieu, we’re off to the movies.” Although it may seem logical, it’s not correct. If you mean “goodbyes,” you’d have to use the plural: “adieus.” In fact the phrase that Shakespeare uses is actually from the Old Norse phrase “at-do” which means bustling activity; fuss; bother; delay (used often in old Norse phrases like without more ado, with much ado). So without further ado… heightened fuss or concern, and time-wasting bother over trivial details , I bid you a fond adieu…farewell and goodbye!

      Comment by Artesian Paradise — February 28, 2012 @ 8:53 am | Reply

  12. I was trying to determine whether or not to use ado or adieu and had always thought the phrase was “without further adieu”. So I’m glad you posted the difference. However, I also took note of the folks who say the phrase is rather insulting, so I will use something else. Thanks for the info. :O)

    After all, I don’t want people to believe the intro was useless.

    Comment by ChrisCD - CD Rates Blog — September 16, 2010 @ 1:25 pm | Reply

  13. Well you should never use a red pen when you’re writing!

    Comment by Kerri Parrett — September 23, 2010 @ 1:15 pm | Reply

    • Unless you are correcting something…

      Comment by Absentinsomniac — November 15, 2010 @ 7:11 pm | Reply

  14. “Adieu” is a French farewell, and is literally translated as “to God”. It’s basically saying, “Go with God” as a goodbye to someone. It makes absolutely no sense in terms of “without further adieu”.

    Comment by proofreader — June 28, 2011 @ 11:16 am | Reply

  15. Empty vessels abound. Much ado about diddly squat. Adieu.

    Comment by neilmac — August 21, 2012 @ 6:26 am | Reply

  16. [...] Author’s note:  For those who think that “without further ado” is incorrect, I refer you to this blog site. http://mightyredpen.wordpress.com/2007/01/01/ado-versus-adieu/ [...]

    Pingback by Oops, I Did it Again! | KittyBunnyChicken — January 12, 2013 @ 9:45 am | Reply


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