Why use one word when two or more identical words will do.
I received a bank statement addressed to me the other day. On the envelope was marked:
Private — addressee only
As opposed to, what? A letter addressed to me at my house that is public and should be opened by any random member of the country? Printing that is a bit of a waste of ink isn’t it?
Some might argue it’s for businesses so a secretary or PA doesn’t open the boss’ personal post, but I’ve also seen this printed on the outside of junk mail so I’d wager that most bosses let their PAs open anything.
Directions such as this are pointless; they’ve gone the same way as the word ‘free’. I think it was AOL who pretty much destroyed the notion of free with their “free trials” — which you had to pay for. Since then advertisers have had to invent phrases such as “totally free” or “100% free” or “absolutely free” when items actually don’t cost anything (until you reach the fine print).
They’re trying to crack down on useless signage in towns too. Plenty of examples in this city alone of signs that are superceded by other signs within twenty feet. Or signs that say “New roundabout ahead” that have been there for fifteen years; and are also preceded by a set of rumble strips just in case there’s any doubt that something is approaching.
I blame sat-nag for the explosion in useless road signage. Sat-nag users don’t look at the roads any more so an increasing number of signs need to be put up to absolve the councils of any wrongdoing when the dickheads poking their navigation systems with sticks crash into things while not paying attention to the road.