Do they charge a fee for opening an account [or anything here]?

Isn't it redundant to use both the words? See this -

charge (v) - demand (an amount) as a price for a service rendered or goods supplied.

And, fee is a payment asked by professionals for their services.

This could have been expressed as: Do they charge for opening an account?

  • I can't tell whether you think redundancy is a problem. Are you under the impression that redundancy is always undesirable? What are you trying to ask?
    – user230
    Feb 28, 2014 at 1:21
  • @snailplane Since most grammarians advise that we should avoid it, this is always my concern.
    – Maulik V
    Feb 28, 2014 at 2:29
  • 2
    Ah. That's incorrect. Not all redundancy is undesirable. Phrases like sing a song are common and not at all incorrect, for example. Of course, you can choose to avoid phrases like this, but that has nothing at all to do with grammar.
    – user230
    Feb 28, 2014 at 2:33
  • 1
    More specifically, you might ask if this phrase is pleonastic, but even then, a pleonasm is not by definition undesirable or ungrammatical.
    – user230
    Feb 28, 2014 at 2:42
  • @snailplane it might not have to do anything with grammar, but with language. I kept on using we discussed about the project instead of we discussed project until one of the native speakers I know corrected me telling about is already included! Being a non-native speaker, this is very important to me. I hope that's clear now.
    – Maulik V
    Feb 28, 2014 at 4:29

4 Answers 4


There is some redundancy there - one could say "Do they charge for opening an account?"

However, there are different types of things that can be charged, and "fee" is but one of them. There are also fines and penalties, among other things, so the apparent redundancy is more about specificity.

Of course, one could just say "Is there a fee...?" as well.

  • You beat me to it. :)
    – BobRodes
    Feb 26, 2014 at 13:40

Yes, it is sort of redundant. You could indeed say "Do they charge for opening an account?" and it would be entirely correct. However, there is an understanding that they charge something for the service, and in this case it would be understood that the something that they charge is a fee. However, in a different context, someone might say "I'll charge you two hours' time for writing that letter." (Presumably in that case, there would be an understanding of how much per hour the person was charging.) The amount mentioned in the definition doesn't have to be money. It usually is, but it can also be time, cans of beans, whatever sort of unit might have an agreed-upon value.


A "fee" is from latin "feodum" and olde english "feod" and is linked to latin "fundum" meaning "funds", "bottom", or "estate". Compare it with "legal status", "grounds for a lawsuit", and "legal standing". Funds are debts charged against the estate of a bank (including bank notes such as paper currency), particularly those that can be subdivided and transferred in parcels and annexed (joined) to form other funds.

A "charge" on a person is etymologically as if the person is in the harness pulling a chariot or rickshaw, from Latin "carrus" meaning wagon. A charge of debt may be applied, posted, and offset with one account (of debt) or another pursuant to an account agreement.

Using "charge a fee" instead of simply "charge" would be appropriate in any context where one might have been charged with something other than payment of funds, such as hard labor, specific performance of a contract, or jailtime. The usage in a personal or business letter is usually poor writing style because of unnecessary specificity, but it isn't unreasonable at all in informal speaking or educational and technical documents.

  • since the context is clear, I think merely mentioning charge makes sense - Do they charge for opening an account?
    – Maulik V
    Feb 27, 2014 at 10:40
  • Yes, that is best in context of a bank or broker. The need to specify is most likely to arise in front of a judge or in a contract. Feb 27, 2014 at 10:46
  • How do you stop an elephant from charging? Take away his credit card. :)
    – BobRodes
    Feb 27, 2014 at 16:23

Even though in the English Collins Dictionary the first synonym of fee is charge I wouldn’t go so far as to qualify it as a redundancy. To be more specific you may need to include it as an item.

  • 1
    In that case, the synonym is the noun rather than the verb, though.
    – BobRodes
    Feb 27, 2014 at 16:24
  • Yes, I know. Instead of using the word ‘synonym’ should I have used the phrase ‘that they convey the same meaning’? like in the following example on internet: ‘If all of us cooperate together, we will succeed. In this sentence, the words cooperate and together have been used. But both these words convey the same meaning’. Could you please explain? Feb 28, 2014 at 7:14
  • I didn't mean to sound as if I were disagreeing with your fundamental position, that fee and charge aren't redundant in this sentence. I agree with it, in fact. I'm just saying that in the phrase "charge a fee" charge is used as a verb, so it isn't really a synonym with fee anyway.
    – BobRodes
    Feb 28, 2014 at 22:00

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