Bob Bly Direct Response Copywriter Official Banner

News from the Department of Redundancy Department

September 4th, 2006 by Bob Bly

The other day I heard a radio commercial that began: “If you have a car you no longer need or have little use for….”

Would you, like me, delete the phrase “or have little use for” as being unnecessary and redundant?

Along the same lines, grammarians point out that the popular copywriting phrase “free gift” is redundant, because all gifts are by definition free … and these grammarians urge copywriters to just write “gift.”

Do you agree with them? Or will you stick with “free gift” in your promotions? Why? (I’d ask “Or why not?” but grammarians insist that the “why not” option is implied when you ask “why.”)


This entry was posted on Monday, September 4th, 2006 at 1:06 pm and is filed under General, Writing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

87 responses about “News from the Department of Redundancy Department”

  1. Howard McEwen said:

    I was once very strick about such things but realize language – especially English – evolves and changes and that’s part of it’s beauty.

    A high school English teacher use to use the world “awful” in the classic “full of awe” sense. As in looking on the face of God. Everybody reading it misunderstood it. While he may be correct, it was just stupid.

    Change with the times;roll with it.

  2. Martin Matheny said:

    With respect to the “If you have a car…” copy, I don’t know that I’d write that copy anyway. Seems a skosh awkward. I might have gone with “If you have a car, you may have little or no use for…”

    With respect to free gifts, I’m going to still use “free” in conjunction with “gift,” unless space limitations are so severe that I absolutely cannot fit it in. Here’s hoping I never face space limitations that bad.

    All gifts are by their nature free, say the grammarians. I don’t know about that, at least from the standpoint of popular perception. If I go out and buy my girlfriend an obscene amount of cosmetics, I’m going to get a “free” tote bag or some other geegaw. Is it really free? My perception is that I’m paying for it, since the promo cost is padded into the cosmetics’ cost. I think a lot of other consumers would (at least subconsciously) feel the same way.

    From the writer’s perspective, I think “free” draws the eye more effectively than “gift.” I’ve got no research to back this up, but I think this may be a case where good usage and good marketing diverge, even if only a little.

    Just my $0.02, though. Since most of my work is for political candidates, I’m not in the business of writing about gifts (free or otherwise) very often.

    I yield to wiser (and published) heads.

  3. Nigel Gordijk said:

    I agree that the word “Free!” jumps out more than “Gift”.

    As for moving with the times and allowing language to evolve, it is becoming more difficult to know where to draw the line about what is an acceptable change. I’m British, so I use “English” English. However, I do a lot of business with Canadian clients and I often have spelling in documentation or email messages “corrected” by them. What makes it worse is that Canadian English seems to be half way between usage in England and the US; I read several American magazines and, of course, most of the Web’s content originates from the US.

    Should I stick with using English the way I was taught, write for a Canadian audience (difficult, because Microsoft Word doesn’t allow me to differentiate between more than one dictionary) or bow to online peer pressure by using American English?

    Just don’t get me started on the spelling of “aluminium” or “aluminum”…

  4. Solo Business Marketing said:

    I’ve used the words “gift” and “complimentary” in my marketing campaigns, but the word “free” is the one that moves my readers to take action.

    It seems that most people are conditioned to understand the meaning of “free” more than other words. I’m not sure if this norm will ever change.

  5. Craig Hysell said:

    I never understood arguing the fine points of grammar. Will the reader understand, be entertained, motivated or intrigued by what you write? If you get your message across the way you intended, then of what concern does it make in how it is said in terms of proper word or punctuation usage?

    The message is and always will be the most important aspect to writing, especially writing to sell.

    Hell, a little redundancy might even help in a world where attention spans move at the speedy click of a mouse or remote.

    Free Gift? What’s free? A gift. What’s the gift? Read further…
    Receive a Gift! Already lost my attention, sounds like I have to do something, kinda long to read… click.

  6. Bob Bly said:

    Craig: I understand with and basically agree with your view, but the argument in favor of using proper grammar is this: if you use poor grammar, it will cause some of your prospects to think you are sloppy, stupid, or both — and they will not want to do business with you as a result.

  7. Craig Hysell said:

    Bob: I agree one hundred percent. But there is a big difference between poor grammar and arguing those many, many fine little points that frumpy grammarians consistently like to point out. That is where, I believe, we prima donna writers who produce clear messages have a point. Cheers.

  8. Jill Ann Bal said:

    I’m new at all this, but I think I will stick with using “free” in front of “gift”. The word free can catch a person’s attention easily whether hearing it on the radio or finding it on the web. Like many low-budget professionals, I sometimes use a word-search to help me find “free” things on the web. Such a powerful search word could bring more visitors to your client’s website.

    Personally, I don’t think any sales related gift is truly free because they all seem to require something from the person responding to the ad (i.e. “come on down”, “just fill this out”, etc). So actually the term “free gift” when used in a sales pitch sounds more like an oxymoron than a redundancy.

  9. Cream Ice Parlor said:

    Thank you, I could not have sead it better my self.

  10. Ephedra. said:



  11. iene said:

    Great site! Good luck to it’s owner!

  12. culo said:

    Great site! Good luck to it’s owner!

  13. tgnhgcmcff said:

    Hello! Good Site! Thanks you! nchbposrbjb

  14. Retro said:

    I just love a cool classic car like a convertible Cutlass. I see them all the time in movies and TV now.

  15. games for kindle 3g said:

    Eustachy231 Very useful article. However back to the subject in part disagree. However, I recommend…

  16. evelyn williams said:

    Bob: I agree one hundred percent. But there is a big difference between poor grammar and arguing those many, many fine little points that frumpy grammarians consistently like to point out. That is where, I believe, we prima donna writers who produce clear messages have a point. Cheers.

  17. Mily Rose said:

    Redundancy in copywriting means repeating something or adding in entirely irrelevant data trophy plaques near me . Copywriting isn’t just writing. Copywriting is the process of writing advertising promotional materials. One of the most valuable skills necessitated are concepts and some aptitude for writing.

  18. george said:

    There are areas of Hire Perl Developers India topics which are making this page that make the topics really impressive. There are such useful ideas avaliable on the page which are making the site really attractive to do certain ideas very easily in all areas of services.

  19. new rajssp apply 2020 said:

    It the link which provides you all details about new rajasthan pension scheme.

  20. anna alison said:

    essay is one of the genres of written works that resembles the “composition-reasoning”, which is familiar in the post-Soviet space. When writing such a text, the author’s task is often to convey his opinion and reason for it, in other cases – to investigate any issue in order to provide the reader with space for his own conclusions. If you have problems writing essay, then contact a professional writer for help

  21. Corwin said:

    During many years of work we could breed Pug puppies, with the most unique and exceptional colors you will dream of having. At the moment our cattery is one of the biggest in the USA who produced these valuable Pug puppies. All our Pug puppy for sale are transferred according to the law with documentation and all our Pug puppy and puppies are with registration AKC. As a family, we have loved, cared, breed, and lived with different kinds of puppies for over 10 years, quite an experience. We do not consider ourselves concerned with earning money. All our Pug puppies are raised at home in a family/friendly environment making our Pug puppies completely at ease with other pets.pugs for sale,pugs for sale near me,cheap pugs for sale,pug puppies for sale,pug puppies for sale near me.

  22. robert said:

  23. Joe Clark said:

    MCA Live Transfer Leads professional guarantees to deliver best qualified for MCA Aged Leads with precise and updated knowledge prepared for conversion MCA Live Leads.

  24. ????????????? said:

    Auto finance or auto financing is the phrase used when an individual wants to purchase a car but cannot give the complete required amount of the vehicle upfront. ????????????? In an auto finance process, the person buying the automobile would first make an application for auto financing.

  25. afb1188 said:

    I know this if not on the topic But I was looking superlot to start my own blog and was wondering what to set up at all.

  26. 123VEGA said:

    I was able to think a lot while looking at this post.
    I will pass this blog to many people. Definitely a good blog is very good. Thank you for sharing.

  27. 123VEGA said:

    Thanks for sharing not only the good, ????????? but the hard and the bad as well. People look one way from the outside 123dic accomplished, confident, whatever. It’s a gift that you share the fears

  28. 123VEGA said:

    to find the game that suits you the most This is determined by the payout rate or the RTP or special rewards earned by that game and look at it with a neutral attitude. Kingmaker

    don’t take your side If playing and earning And you are happy with it. It is considered to be on the right path.Jili slot
    This will give you more chances than playing the original game. It’s a challenge as well, though s. It will be a game that can make a huge amount of for players. But it’s already known as gambling. Every investment carries risks.YL FISHINGAnd more importantly, when you bet at the end of each round, stay calm. Don’t be in a rush to place bets and click spin now. As online slots games are games of chance played with other players, time during this time gives you more chances to win.payline

  29. 123 said:

    Good post, thanks for sharing.. jili slot very useful for me, I will bookmark this for my future needs. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article and I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. pragmatic playThanks , I have just been looking for spadegaming information approximately this subject for a while and yours is the greatest allbet accomplished, confident, whatever. It’s a gift that you share the fears and insecurities with your readers too.

  30. IAM1688 said:

    article writing guide. ?????????? An article is a written work sa gaming 1688 published in a print/electronic medium. It may be for the purpose ????????????? of delivering news, researching ?????22results, academic analysis, or debate.

  31. iam1688 said:

    If you’re a screenwriter sa gaming trying to break into the video game industry as a ?? ?? ??? 1688game writer, you need to understand that everything you ????know about screenwriting format, structure, and characterization ?? ??? ??? 1688 is null and void — for the most part. Yes, you will utilize the ideals of story arcs, character arcs, and general story structure, but any game’s story is secondary to the actual gameplay of the title being developed.

  32. 123VEGA said:

    Covid vaccine doses have ????? 123 been administered worldwide, they say 70% of these were NIGOAL administered by only a few countries and just 2% of people in low-income countries JILI SLOT have received a jab. The letter says that PRAGMATIC between them the US

  33. iam1688 said:

    And if I believe you sa???
    Will that make it stop?
    If I told you I need ebet you
    Is that what you want?

    And I’m broken and ????????????????? bleeding
    And begging for help
    And I’m asking you, Jesus, show dreamgaming yourself

  34. iam1688 said:

    She’s up all night ’til the sun sa gaming 1688
    I’m up all night to get some

  35. ???? 123 said:

    Conservation officials say ????? ???? jili they tried to save its life by amputating its trunk, but it succumbed to ?????123 an infection from its injuries two days later.
    “We couldn’t save it because ????????? the injury was severe and infected,” Agus Arianto, head of the Aceh ????????? Natural Resources Conservation Agency said.

  36. iam1688 said:

    If you’re a screenwriter sa gaming trying to break into the video game industry as a ?? ?? ??? 1688game writer, you need to understand that everything you ????know about screenwriting format, structure, and characterization ?? ??? ??? 1688 is null and void — for the most part. Yes, you will <a

  37. ???? 123 said:

    It’s been described as pragmatic play Books, podcasts, even a ????????? what happened at the ALLBET it wasn’t clear ?????123 whether

  38. nigoal123 said:

    An article is a written work ???? 123 published in a print/electronic medium. goal 123 game a large audience on a particular topic or subject. Nigoal123 The main objective to write an article is to make some changes to the world by presenting facts, stats, or views.

  39. iam1688 said:

    She’s up all night ’til the sun sa gaming 1688 I’m up all night to get some ?? ?? ??? 1688 She’s up all night for good fun ?? ??? ??? 1688 I’m up all night to get lucky ??????1688 We’re up all night ’til the sun ?????22 We’re up all night to get some ka gaming We’re up all night for good fun live22????? We’re up all night to get lucky 1688???????

  40. iam1688 said:

    Just so you know sa gaming 1688 This feeling’s takin’ control of me?? ??? ??? 1688 And I can’t help it1688?????? I won’t sit around ?? ?? ??? 1688 I can’t let him win now ?????22 Thought you should know ?????????????? I’ve tried my best to let go of you slot live22 But I don’t want to ???????????? I just gotta say it all before I go ?????? Just so you know sagaming Just so you know ??????? 1688

  41. sv388 said:


  42. shutdown168 said:

    thank you

  43. 168 said:

    Just so you know sa gaming

  44. shutdown88 said:

    thank you

  45. shutdown88 said:

    good job

  46. ???????shutdown88 said:

    ythank you forthis

  47. shutdown88 said:

    very good

  48. nt88 said:

    blog you is great and play game online bet to easy nt88 clik

  49. Rios Cosmetics said:

    Rios is a multi-brand store providing amazing Face Powder and glamorous face powder. The store aims to provide satisfaction through high quality products like Face Powder. Grab their face powder online, it is perfect and just what you need Rios fulfills your every demand.

  50. Flormar Cosmetics said:

    Discover a wide range of best Flormar lip balm in Pakistan online just at, and get the best prices. Get all famous skincare brands at your doorstep.

  51. shutdown88 said:


  52. jhon bill set said:

    There needs to be a dedication and focused approach for online English learning. Teachers also need quick access to the Internet and have reliable equipment. translator

  53. jhon bill set said:

    To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, we exclude all representations, warranties and conditions relating to our website and the use of this website. Nothing in this disclaimer will: Zimbabwe School Examinations

  54. jhon bill set said:

    Nummer 13 ist die Zahl, die mit dem Leben verbunden ist. Im Laufe der Geschichte wurde diese Zahl mit Unsterblichkeit, Erneuerung, Schöpfung und Ordnung in Verbindung gebracht. Sprüche zum Nachdenken

  55. jhon bill set said:

    This is only the data I am discovering all over the place. A debt of gratitude is in order for your website, I simply subscribe your online journal. This is a decent blog.. pagina web autoadministrable

  56. jhon bill set said:

    AI can analyze learner data to provide personalized feedback, recommendations, and adaptive assessments. educational software development services

  57. Mike Rooney said:

    Thanks for a wonderful share. Here is the great example related to you blog.Chicago Bulls Varsity Jackets

  58. jhon bill set said:

    Firstly, they are free! They usually give you a very large storage capacity (Gmail is 7.5 GB, Yahoo is unlimited, Hotmail is 5GB) and of course you can access your account from any computer via internet. Buy gmail Accounts

  59. Andrew Mark said:

    Your post content is being interested by a lot of people, I am very impressed with your post. I hope to receive more good articles.
    Maverick Jacket Top Gun

  60. 168com said:

    thank you

  61. ???????????? said:


  62. said:

    very good

  63. shutdown168 said:

    It’s a great article. ???????????? 168

  64. shutdown168 said:

    Norway after one of its research rockets slot168malfunctioned

  65. 168com said:


  66. ?BTMakehome said:


  67. shutdown168 said:

    good post

  68. said:

    Despite the rulings, the corruption charges against Mr Khan still stand.

  69. 168com said:

    The passengers were returning from a wedding at a winery on Sunday night in the Hunter Valley when their coach overturned near the town of Greta. slot

  70. BTMakehome said:


  71. shutdown123 said:

    Thousands of scouts at an international Shutdown123

  72. ?????888 said:

    Direct website, popular online slots, play for real money playable on mobile Support all systems Apply for a new member and receive a 100% free bonus, only one place. online slot games It is very popular for online gamblers, there are many online slots camps that have recently opened, PGSLOT slots, the newest camp that has officially launched. service providers

  73. shutdown123 said:

    Wagner mercenary

  74. BabyBoxShop said:

    Indulge in the art of gifting with our Baby Hampers – lavish assortments of baby essentials and treats that exude luxury and care. Each hamper is a treasure trove of comfort, featuring everything from organic skincare products to charming nursery decorations. Welcome the new arrival in style and sophistication with our meticulously crafted baby hampers.

  75. shutdown123 said:

    good post

  76. shutdown123 said:

    President Joe Biden has Shutdown123

  77. BabyBoxShop said:

    Discover a delightful selection of baby gifts perfect for celebrating the arrival of a precious little one. From cute and cuddly plush toys to charming keepsakes, our collection offers a range of options to suit every taste and occasion. Whether you’re looking for a practical gift or a heartfelt gesture, we have the perfect baby gift to bring joy to both parents and their bundle of joy.

  78. shutdown123 said:


  79. Vallee Real Estate said:

    Experience urban living at its finest with apartments for sale in Richmond. Discover a diverse selection of stylish condos and apartments in this bustling city, known for its rich culture and convenient amenities. Start your journey to homeownership in Richmond today.Explore our listings to discover modern condos with stunning views, conveniently located in this thriving community. Your ideal Richmond apartment awaits.

  80. BSNS Consulting said:

    Trust BSNS Consulting as your reliable Taxation Services Provider. With our in-depth understanding of tax laws and regulations, we ensure accurate and timely tax compliance for your business. Our proactive tax planning approach aims to minimise tax burdens and maximise savings, allowing you to focus on driving your business forward.

  81. shutdown123 said:

    A Japanese court has found three ex-soldiers shutdown168 guilty of sexually assaulting a female colleague.

  82. TipTop Enrichtung said:

    A friseurstuhl vintage adds a nostalgic ambiance to the salon. These chairs often have a classic design and can be antique or retro-styled. They are designed to be comfortable and allow the hairdresser easy access to the client’s hair.

  83. We Buy Dead Stocks..... said:

    We Buy Dead Stocks excels in the purchase of electronic scrap, transforming outdated electronics into cash. As the largest dead stocks buyer in the UAE, we pride ourselves on quality, sustainability, and top-tier pricing. Make the smart choice and sell your electronic scrap with us.

  84. BTMakehome said:

    The incident that befell Alaska b&t Airlines Flight 1282 on Friday

  85. shutdown123 said:

    Thousands of passengers dreamgaming face flight cancellations after major US airlines grounded

  86. Pink Salt said:

    Although some claim it is better than ordinary table salt, there is currently little scientific proof that it has appreciable health benefits. It’s critical to recognize Himalayan pink salt for what it is: a delicious complement to your cooking skills.

  87. Ramadan Packages said:

    Shopping for Ramadan grocery packages can be an enriching experience, offering an opportunity to support local businesses and charitable initiatives. Many retailers and online platforms offer special discounts and promotions during the month of Ramadan, making it an ideal time to stock up on essentials.

Leave a Reply