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Imagine a child speaks badly to his mother and the father notices the bad intonation and mannerism. The father is going to warn the son. I was wondering if someone could let me know whether in the self-made sentence below the bold word "once" is redundant:

  • If you talk back to mother like that once again, I’ll treat you in a different manner.
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It’s not necessary, but I’m not sure I’d label it as redundant.

I looked up redundant in a dictionary (NOAD), and found this definition:

redundant (adj.) (of words or data) able to be omitted without loss of meaning or function.

In English, many words can be omitted without a loss of meaning, but sometimes words are added for emphasis. Calling a word “redundant” makes it sound like it should be removed, and I’m not sure that applies to all superfluous words. (For example, if I say, “The room was very spacious,” is the word very redundant?)

Incidentally, the same dictionary defines the idiom once again as meaning “one more time,” so, in that regard, your sentence works fine grammatically. However, there’s an equivalent idiom that means the same thing – once more:

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Personally, if it were me talking, I’d probably use one of these variants:

If you talk back to mother like that again...
If you talk back to mother like that once more...
If you talk back to mother like that one more time...

but I don’t find your original version with once again either particularly jarring or annoyingly redundant.

  • "...one more time..." is particularly idiomatic as native English speakers tend to prefer short, clipped words when emotional (annoyed in this case). – Morgen Dec 26 '16 at 0:43

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