Contemporary essays, fiction, and opinion offered regularly by author Anne Brandt.

Question for the week
Is there anything wrong with the following phrase? "It cost less to reuse boxes than to buy new ones."
Rules of the Games
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Chris C. , lover of cats, asks...
'The 'Tonight Show' with Jay Leno sometimes shows segments, or skits to entertain. I sent an email about one of them (this is copy of text):

Sorry to bother. Noticed one segment entitled "Never Before Seen Footage". I know, get a life.... but isn't it (gramatically, and is still 'catchy') Never Seen Before Footage??


Could you resolve this issue? Of course, if you agree with me, may I let them know? If you disagree with me, I will let them know that too.
Anne answers...
Actually, both phrases are technically wrong, although they are used in casual speaking particularly by advertising executives seeking our attention. The correct phrase is "Never seen footage." Why? Because never is an absolute, so the use of before is redundant and unnecessary.

And, yes, you can contact Jay about this.
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