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pash
10-15-2006, 02:36 AM
I'm told by a few AmEng speakers that the adverb "always" below is redundant. Is that true? It seems very important to the intended meaning of the speaker to me.

When I go to Joe's, I always eat pepperoni.

Lee G.
10-15-2006, 02:55 AM
In that sentence, "always" acts as an intensifier. It would also be redundant to write something like...

She herself is guilty of fudging her sales numbers.

"Herself" is completely redundant in a technical sense, yet it is perfectly good grammar.

Silver King
10-15-2006, 03:05 AM
I almost always avoid the word "always." It ranks right up there with "never."

What if you went back to Joe's after dinner because you left your jacket behind? Would you have another bite of pepperoni?

maestrowork
10-15-2006, 04:14 AM
But clearly, the meaning of

"When I go to Joe's, I eat pepperoni." is different than

"When I go to Joe's, I always eat pepperoni."

One is a single instance of happening, and the other a statement of repetition or continuance.

It is clunky, though. It's probably better to write:

"Every time I go to Joe's, I order pepperoni." or
"I always have pepperoni at Joe's." or
"Whenever I go to Joe's, I eat pepperoni."



The "when" is the problem. "When I go to Joe's" seem to imply, to many people, it's a particular occurrence. "When something happens..." So that the "when" and "always" feel clunky. "Whenever" fixes the problem.

veinglory
10-15-2006, 04:18 AM
Redundancy is not necessarily a bad thing IMHO. I think it reads fine.

pash
10-15-2006, 12:38 PM
I almost always avoid the word "always." It ranks right up there with "never."

What if you went back to Joe's after dinner because you left your jacket behind? Would you have another bite of pepperoni?

Wouldn't that then be "when I go back/return to Joe's"? I think that most people would interpret the "when I go" to mean "on my single visits to Joe's.".

pash
10-15-2006, 12:39 PM
Redundancy is not necessarily a bad thing IMHO. I think it reads fine.

The emphasis it gives seems important. I know there's syntactic redundancy, but is there such a thing as semantic redundancy?

Lee G.
10-15-2006, 02:21 PM
Sorry, I may not have made this clear in my first post, but there's a grammatical term for your use of "always".

Intensifier: A word, usually an adverb, that has little meaning in itself but provides force.


Hope this helps...

pash
10-15-2006, 04:22 PM
Sorry, I may not have made this clear in my first post, but there's a grammatical term for your use of "always".

Intensifier: A word, usually an adverb, that has little meaning in itself but provides force.


Hope this helps...

When you say "little meaning", you mean semantic meaning and not pragmatic meaning, right?

Lee G.
10-15-2006, 04:39 PM
I'm not entirely sure I know the answer to that one. It's been a long time since I've studied semantics in college. However, if I'm understanding the difference between semantic and pragmatic correctly, I'd say "always" has semantic meaning because it clarifies and strengthens the meaning of the word "eat." It may have little pragmatic meaning, because it is not strictly necessary for the sentence to make fundamental sense.

I feel like I'm back in Philosophy class. Like I said, it's been a while, so don't quote me on it. ;)

pash
10-16-2006, 02:26 AM
The "when" is the problem. "When I go to Joe's" seem to imply, to many people, it's a particular occurrence. "When something happens..." So that the "when" and "always" feel clunky. "Whenever" fixes the problem.

I don't understand. There are many English examples of "when I ..." that express a habitual activity.

When I go to my mother's, I (always) take flowers.
When I listen to Creedence, I go crazy.
When you call me "Cherie", I melt.

Silver King
10-16-2006, 02:45 AM
Pash, there's nothing wrong with your original sentence. If you've eaten pepperoni every single time you've ever been to Joe's, then your reference to "always" is perfectly fine.

But if you've ever stopped by Joe's to use the phone, or to say hello to the owner, or for any other reason where you didn't eat pepperoni during those visits, then your reference to "always" may be stretching things a little.

What if you went to Joe's, and they were out of pepperoni? Unless you brought your own, how could you possibly eat pepperoni there that day?

These examples may seem extreme, but I've included them to give you a sense of the dangers of using ALWAYS in most instances.

maestrowork
10-16-2006, 06:18 AM
I don't understand. There are many English examples of "when I ..." that express a habitual activity.

When I go to my mother's, I (always) take flowers.
When I listen to Creedence, I go crazy.
When you call me "Cherie", I melt.

I would prefer "whenever" in these cases. True, "when" can also mean "whenever" but why not make it clearer instead of using "always."

pash
10-16-2006, 01:24 PM
Thanks, Silver King. I still think that "when I go to Joe's" has the intention of meaning "when I go to Joe's to eat".

pash
10-16-2006, 01:29 PM
I would prefer "whenever" in these cases. True, "when" can also mean "whenever" but why not make it clearer instead of using "always."

It is made clear by the next part in such cases.

When I go to Joe's, I'm going to... (One time. Future time)
When I go to Joe's, I order... (Timeless. Habit)

And these figures are interesting:

58,000 pages for "when i go to * I always".
14,500 pages for "whenever i go to * I always"

JustinThorne
10-16-2006, 01:44 PM
I think the context is imporant, I.E. it's first person, so it's important to use the character's tone of voice. If that was in a conversation, you would say it exactly like that...

When I go to Joe's, I always eat pepperoni.

When I am at Joe's, I only eat pepperoni ?

But if I beat myself up over points like this, I would never get anything done!

pash
10-16-2006, 02:56 PM
<I think the context is imporant, I.E. it's first person, so it's important to use the character's tone of voice. If that was in a conversation, you would say it exactly like that...

When I go to Joe's, I always eat pepperoni.>

Yes, Justin, I also feel that it is more natural to say that and not "..., I eat pepperoni.".

K1P1
10-16-2006, 06:21 PM
Pash, there's nothing wrong with your original sentence. If you've eaten pepperoni every single time you've ever been to Joe's, then your reference to "always" is perfectly fine.

But if you've ever stopped by Joe's to use the phone, or to say hello to the owner, or for any other reason where you didn't eat pepperoni during those visits, then your reference to "always" may be stretching things a little.

What if you went to Joe's, and they were out of pepperoni? Unless you brought your own, how could you possibly eat pepperoni there that day?

These examples may seem extreme, but I've included them to give you a sense of the dangers of using ALWAYS in most instances.

I don't think there's any "danger" here. It's just a rhetorical device called hyperbole. Unless this statement is part of a logical argument (which even without a context, I doubt), I think common sense would tell any listener that there could conceivably be times when the statement isn't true, without the speaker adding disclaimers.

I think the original statement is it's perfectly OK, especially if it represents informally spoken rather than formally written English.

maestrowork
10-16-2006, 06:26 PM
Maybe I am thick, I just don't get that "When I go to Joe's, I order ice cream" means "all the time" because there's nothing in the context to mean that.

Same with a sentence like this: When the sun rises, I go for a walk.

I almost feel like there should be an "always," "usually," "typically," etc. or "whenever" should be used in place of "when."

Now, if you have something that is clear in the context, that's different:


When October comes, leaves fall in Pennsylvania.
When the sun comes out, birds sing.
When snow falls, people drive much more carefully.

Silver King
10-16-2006, 07:34 PM
I don't think there's any "danger" here. It's just a rhetorical device called hyperbole.
I always agree with K1P1 because she's always right.;)

K1P1
10-17-2006, 06:15 AM
I always agree with K1P1 because she's always right.;)

I was hoping you'd get the tongue-in-cheek point, Silver King, that you were yourself indulging in a bit of overstatement. :D

scottVee
10-27-2006, 06:57 AM
In spoken conversation, people don't care whether their statements are 100% factually correct. (Or even 20%.) People say things like the original example all the time. "Always" is an intesifier (or amplifier), as stated. It adds a slight emphasis or force to the statement. Repeating events and counting statements have some weird wording issues, and this is both. The simple spectrum is never-sometimes-always. Adding any of these produces a more precise statement than not trying to qualify the experience at all. Adverbs are not useless or meaningless, they're just considered bad style, and are often overused.

These things are fine in dialog. But be very careful about exaggerating or making false claims (even unintentionally) in a strict argument or nonfiction piece.

jpserra
11-07-2006, 04:49 PM
I'm told by a few AmEng speakers that the adverb "always" below is redundant. Is that true? It seems very important to the intended meaning of the speaker to me.

When I go to Joe's, I always eat pepperoni.

True it is an intensifier, but it is also an absolute. I'm thinking that Joe is sometimes out of pepperoni and that sometimes, though seldom, they might have sausage.

I'm always hungry. Might indicate that I am truely starving, but it is cliche, and an exageration. I am frequently hungry. My stomach rumbles throughout the day. These might be a less intense way of accurately depicting the problem. However in a metaphorical sense, using an absolute could tell us a bunch about the person through dialogue.

John Serra

pash
11-07-2006, 06:50 PM
<I am frequently hungry. My stomach rumbles throughout the day. These might be a less intense way of accurately depicting the problem.>

Don't think I've ever heard "I'm frequently hungry". Who would say that and why?

In fact, googled:

Results 1 - 3 of about 9 for "I'm frequently hungry".

jpserra
11-09-2006, 01:31 AM
<I am frequently hungry. My stomach rumbles throughout the day. These might be a less intense way of accurately depicting the problem.>

Don't think I've ever heard "I'm frequently hungry". Who would say that and why?

In fact, googled:

Results 1 - 3 of about 9 for "I'm frequently hungry".

Are you TRYING to make this difficult. Example only. Not expressly correct, but demonstrative.

: > ) John

pash
11-09-2006, 04:52 PM
Maybe I am thick, I just don't get that "When I go to Joe's, I order ice cream" means "all the time" because there's nothing in the context to mean that.



I'd say the same.

pash
11-09-2006, 04:55 PM
<Are you TRYING to make this difficult. Example only. Not expressly correct, but demonstrative.>

Not trying to be difficult. Just a NNES with a question.