Needless To Say

Today, in another episode of my attempt to single-handedly beautify the common usage of the English language, I aim my lance at the windmill of the cliche “needless to say”. Google returns 65,700,000 results for this phrase, and almost every one of them should have been deleted by its author.

First of all, “needless to say” is simple throat-clearing; it communicates almost no useful information. Worse than that, the information is does communicate is, literally, “you can ignore what I’m about to say”. Metaphorically, the phrase just signals in-group snobbery, i.e., “all clever people — like us, ho-ho-ho — already know this to be true, but let’s just state it for the record … and you’re not such a moron that you’re going to disagree, are you?”


I should note that, before writing this piece, I searched my blog archive to check if I’d ever used this phrase here. I am smug to report that I have not. Yet.

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