Thursday, January 8, 2009

Your mileage may vary

Just as a great poem can conjure up an emotional response from the reader, so too can bad writing.

For me there are certain words, phrases, and expressions that make me see red. In some cases the offenders fine their way into a writing, I believe, simply because the writer is lazy and relies on some trite verbiage.

The increasingly popular your mileage may vary is one such case, as in this sentence I encountered today: "The savings estimates below are typical, but of course your mileage may vary; it all depends on what services you’re paying for now."

Given that "estimates" implies that the amount of savings varies, the use of "but of course your mileage may vary" is redundant.