Mighty Red Pen

May 5, 2008

Choosy word nerds choose

Filed under: Spellbound,Word wars,Wordsworthy — mighty red pen @ 8:08 pm
Tags: , ,

Hat tip to Staci, who sent this little tidbit after seeing it on abcnews.com:

Here’s an extreme close-up:

She sent it because of the misspelling of Morocco, but MRP will also use this teachable moment to mull over Sahara Desert. Not terribly controversial, in my opinion, but a little interesting.

On this topic, Bill Bryson opines:

Sahara means desert, so the common expression Sahara Desert is clearly redundant.

Wikipedia agrees:

As its name is the Arabic word meaning “desert”: “ṣaḥrā´” (صَحراء), to refer to the Sahara as the “Sahara Desert” can be considered a redundancy.

On the other hand, the Columbia Guide to Standard American English says:

Sahara means “desert” in Arabic, but only the finical argue that Sahara Desert is tautological.

Heaven forfend that we should in any way be considered finical. As Moondog would say, six a one, half dozen the other. What others can you suggest? Go here if you give up.

1 Comment »

  1. “gold” and “yellow” both come from the same Proto-Indo-European root (*ghel-), so the phrase “golden yellow” is clearly redundant.

    Comment by goofy — May 12, 2008 @ 8:47 am | Reply


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