# Is “or easy” needed in “… cannot determine how hard or easy it is …”?

In the following sentence, is it redundant to write "or easy"? Would writing "how hard it is" be enough?

Based on the regional unemployment rate alone, the program cannot effectively determine how hard or easy it is for a worker to find new employment in a given region.

I am trying to use the word "hard" as a scale here. I was told that just writing "cannot determine how hard it is" could imply that the program CAN determine how easy it is for one to find work, but not how hard it is.

If I can in fact just write "how hard it is", then I could also probably write "how difficult it is".

Here is some context:

• Region A: Unemployment rate 7% (it is assumed that it is not hard for workers to find a job in this region; so its easy)

• Region B: Unemployment rate 9% (it is assumed that it is hard for workers to find a job in this region)

• Region C: Unemployment rate 12% (it is assumed that it is extremely hard for workers to find a job in this region)

Many people object to writing "I am wondering whether or not I should ask her out". They prefer "I am wondering whether I should ask her out".

It is redundant, but it's not meaningless. It's a matter of perspective. Consider:

I play baseball.

How good are you?

These alternatives have totally different connotations. The first is positive and the second is negative (and offensive).

How good or bad are you?

This is redundant, but neutral. It would be unusual to use this particular example, but hopefully the point is clear. Another example:

How hard was the test?

This conveys an assumption on the speaker's part that the test was to some degree difficult.

How easy was the test?

This conveys the opposite assumption.

How easy or hard was the test?

This conveys no assumption and is neutral.