Ten redundant money expressions (and one curveball)

I’ll admit it. I’m a card-carrying member of the grammar police, the spelling police, and the style police.

“Weird Al” Yankovic released his newest album Mandatory Fun less than two months ago.  He parodied a Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” with “Word Crimes.”  If Weird Al’s song speaks to the innermost parts of your being, then you understand.

And, it you’re scratching your head:  No worries; we can still be friends!

Below is a list of commonly used, but redundant, money expressions.  The phrases either deal with money directly, or deal with issues that can cause people to spend a lot of money.

  • PIN number.  The acronym PIN stands for personal identification number.  Saying “number” again at the end is redundant.  The same would be true of the phrase “SSN number.”
  • LIBOR rate.  LIBOR stands for London Interbank Offered Rate which makes the extra “rate” unnecessary.
  • ATM machine.  One doesn’t deposit or withdraw from an automated teller machine machine.
  • $12 million dollars.  Writing this amount either as $12 million or as 12 million dollars gets the point across as to what unit of money we’re talking about.
  • Cash money.  This phrase is used in sales pitches and street-side negotiations.  Nonetheless, cash is money, right?
  • Free gift.  Whatever is being received isn’t a gift unless it’s free. (Whether the gift should be looked upon with suspicion or not is another matter.)
  • Preboard.  Some passengers might board an airplane before other passengers, but none of them can get on the plane before they … get on the plane.
  • Hot water heater.  We’ve had to replace water heaters (at great expense), but never a hot water heater.  It’s unclear whether a hot water heater is (a) a water heater that is hot, or (b) a heater that heats water that is already hot.  (We might need both a water heater and a hot water heater, then — just so the hot water heater actually has some hot water to heat!)
  • UPC code.  The bar codes that are scanned at checkout are called universal product codes.  “Code” is part of the name.
  • Safe haven.  These types of investments or accounts are extra-safe, apparently.  A haven is already “a place of safety” so a “safe place of safety” really has a lot of safety going on, doesn’t it?
  • IRA Account?  This one might be redundant, or not.  The IRS defines an individual retirement arrangement that gives tax-advantaged status for contributions that are governed by deposit, withdrawal, and reporting restrictions.  The same abbreviation also is used to describe a particular account — an individual retirement account — which plays a part in a person’s individual retirement arrangement.  If the intent of the phrase “IRA account” is to describe an account that is part of an individual retirement arrangement, then it’s not redundant.

So … beware of people who enter their PIN numbers into the ATM machine to withdraw $300 dollars in cash money from their IRA accounts to buy a new hot water heater. :)

John Wedding

Husband. Father. Web publisher. Musician. John has blogged at Mighty Bargain Hunter since 2005, helping people to recognize life's good deals.

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