In the accepted answer to this question : What's the difference between "in itself", "by itself" and "in and of itself"? it is stated that

in itself means "not needing other things".
in and of itself means "when considered in isolation".

But don't these mean the same thing ? If something is considered without needing other things ("in itself") then surely that also implies that it is being considered in isolation ("in and of itself"). I don't get the distinction, and whenever I hear "in and of itself" it seems unnatural and I can't see that anything is gained from using it, over "in itself"

  • Redundancies or pleonasms are a natural artefact in English and many other languages: "one and only" (only = one), "past histories", "burning fire" etc.
    – xngtng
    Jul 29, 2021 at 20:23
  • @xngtng yeah I understand that, so shouldn't the correct answer to the linked question be that "in itself" and "in and of itself" mean the same and can be used interchangeably ? If not, then what are the differences ?
    – LeelaSella
    Jul 29, 2021 at 20:28
  • Sometimes they are indeed very similar. However, an example on another site mentions that "in and of itself" can be used to say something has partially, but not entirely, contributed to a situation. X, in and of itself, was not the reason for Y.
    – Sam
    Jul 31, 2021 at 1:35


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