Digital Access

Digital Access
Access from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more! News you use every day! Daily, Daily including the e-Edition or e-Edition only.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, prep sports scores, school closings, weather, and more. Text alerts are a free service from, but text rates may apply.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Sign up for free e-newsletters today.

Can We Possibly Strangle Redundancies to Death?


While the world goes gaga over Prince Poopy Diapers, Mose muses over the media's description of the tyke.

Outlets as diverse as button-down NPR and celebrity-centric Yahoo “News” reported the same development this week: Kate had survived the royal pain to deliver a “baby boy.”

Unless the child is Mork from Ork or perhaps suffers from a Curious Case of Benjamin Button, any full-term delivery will produce something we call – in chronological terms – a baby. Adults who age backward are birthed only in ’70s sit-coms and though the magic of Hollywood.

Of course it's a baby! Just tell us the new arrival is a boy – we'll figure out its approximate place on the spectrum of life.

But conversational English plays a little loose with redundancies. Mose is certain that “She had a baby boy” is how billions of humans reported it to their cave-dweller friends who don't have cable.

Editors should know better.

But, alas, the informality of speech often finds its way into the more formal written word. This, for example, showed up recently in a daily newspaper that Mose follows:

Federal disaster assistance could cover expenses related to flooding, such as the costs of cleaning basements, replacing furnaces and hot water heaters, and repairing foundations.

Was it the late comedian George Carlin who asked, rhetorically, why anyone would need a device to heat hot water?

But that was what Mose's mother always called that tank in the utility room, as did probably every mother who didn't have an old AP Stylebook nearby. But even newer editions of the Stylebook have omitted the admonition, figuring that everybody knows “water heater” is sufficient to describe the appliance or that nobody can be broken of the popular conversational redundancy.

Thus, we grammar grouches are compelled to continually warn writers and editors to avoid those traps as well as “at 7 a.m. Monday morning” and “strangled to death,” among other news reporting redundancies.

Those are different from another Carlin peeve – mutually exclusive terms such as “military intelligence” and “jumbo shrimp.”

But that's for a comedic monologue some other time.