I've heard people saying sentences like

The rule applies to all the employees except for some exceptions.

Doesn't the use of word "except" make it obvious, in this case, that they're exceptions? Shouldn't the sentence be

The rule applies to all the employees except for some.

Is there any word for such sentences where a previously used word makes the latter obvious?

  • 1
    If I was going to rewrite the sentence, I'd probably leave the word exceptions in, and say something like: The rule applies to all the employees but there are some exceptions.
    – J.R.
    Aug 19, 2016 at 19:52
  • 1
    The sentence can't authoritatively be called incorrect, from a grammar standpoint, although it contains a redundancy. It seems not an uncommon sort of utterance, especially in speech, however inartful or illogical if scruitinized. I venture that many or most of us would not give the phrasing a second thought in a situation where it was spoken and we were attending to the meaning clearly intended. Aug 19, 2016 at 20:06

3 Answers 3


You could simply use the word awkward. It's broader than cases where "a previously used word makes the latter obvious," but it still applies.

Awkward (abbreviated as awk) is part of the standard editor's/proofreader's notation. One website calls it a catchall term. It gets defined in various ways, such as:

  • I can understand this, but it's not well said 1
  • Awkwardly expressed or constructed 2
  • The phrase is grammatically correct, but there is a clearer, more concise way to phrase it 3
  • This sentence or construction is awkward; it should be written differently 4

I think all of those would apply to your "all the employees except for some exceptions" example.

Interestingly enough, one website provides an example of an "awkward expression or construction," and it's not too far off from the example in your question:

The storm had the effect of causing millions of dollars in damage.

Much like in your example, "had the effect of causing" is somewhat redundant, although the wording may not be quite as glaring as "except for some exceptions." In any case, the fix seems pretty straightforward – a simple shortening of the sentence will do the trick:

The storm caused millions of dollars in damage.

  • Interesting same-day question on ELU: Is 'seems like it might' redundant? I especially like Edwin Ashworth's comment there. Not all redundancy is bad, but awkward redundancies are.
    – J.R.
    Aug 19, 2016 at 21:16

You might be looking for redundant.

: repeating something else and therefore unnecessary

Yes, I believe the given example is redundant, and I would personally say exactly what you wrote

The rule applies to all the employees except for some.

Better yet

The rule applies to most.


It is correct, but it is redundant.

The phrasing suggested,

The rule applies to all employees except for some.

is correct and not redundant. However, I personally think it sounds better to say,

The rule applies to all employees, with some exceptions.

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