Without Further Ado, Let's Stop Writing That

There are two reasons to avoid the phrase 'without further ado'. Firstly, it's meaningless filler. Secondly, it's frequently rendered incorrectly as 'without further adieu'. The latter is wrong; both are reprehensible.

Picture by Reg Lancaster/Getty Images

The phrase (with or without 'so' in front of it) suffers from the same problem as 'it goes without saying': it delays what you're actually trying to convey. Life is short. Precision is more useful than waffle.

'Without further adieu' is a disturbingly common mistake; I didn't have to dig too far through Google News to find this shocker:

So without further adieu, here are my top moments from IndieCade 2012

Adieu is French for 'farewell'. In the phrase 'without further adieu', it might as well be English for 'I am ignorant'. And why would I want a list of "top moments" from someone ignorant?

Lifehacker's Mind Your Language column offers bossy advice on improving your writing.


Comments

    "both is reprehensible"
    You did that just to make sure we were awake didn't you.

      I scrolled down just to write something along those lines! It's a bit harsh to bitch about grammar, then do that!

        "Both is reprehensible" can make sense. If he means to say that using them both at the same time is reprehensible, as in the phrase, "Without further ado, adieu!", then I have to agree.

      ...and "someone ignorant" doesn't sound grammatically correct either.

    And if we're writing a transcript for a speech? Speeches need waffle.

    Interestingly, adieu can be used as a salutation too in Occitan (spoken by around 1 million people in some parts of Spain, Italy, Monaco and souther France). In this context, without further adieu could fit quite well even if it isn't necessarily what the speaker intended. However, I believe that using Adieu as a salutation is like saying "Hi!" in English rather than welcome, so it would probably still be unusual.
    http://www.freelang.net/online/occitan.php?lg=gb

    It's not meaningless at all. What do you suggest the line be replaced with?
    -now that i've gone on and on i'll get to the point
    -i'll stop talking now
    -ok, had enough? here's johnny

    Only a yank would use 'adieu' in place of 'ado'. Those of us who don't rape the English language are well aware that 'ado' is actually a valid and real word

      +1 I totally agree. The English language is steeped in history and is a fascinating subject. It has gone through so many iterations that it is impossible to keep track of. It is a shame that we have to constantly Americanize (note the z) our language and simplify it to the most basic forms. The great thing about language is that there are so many ways to say the same thing. Angus, are you worried that if you use big words or old sayings, people will think you are bombastic?

      I'd prefer you wrote it as "With what do you suggest the line be replaced?", but I accept that ending a sentence with a preposition isn't the grammatical crime my English teacher once suggested.

      But your comment that only a yank (I believe you mean Yank) would confuse 'adieu' with 'ado' is easily refuted, and not without a touch of irony.

      http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/271239/dragons-blog-farewell-to-two-legends/?cs=2315

      http://www.uow.edu.au/crearts/UOW080156.html

      Last edited 19/10/12 1:22 pm

      Not only a yank. I had read about people incorrectly saying 'adieu' instead of 'ado' and then I saw it used in the wild. Then again another time. Big reveal on the person using it.

    In my experience, it's used mainly as a tension breaker and generally gets an audience to giggle. So not that "reprehensible"

    Actually 'without further ado' does have a purpose. It tells the listener(s) that you're just about to get to the main point - after you've finished the current point. It effectively warns them that the main 'event' is about to commence. I agree that it could be dispensed with if one really wanted to be economical with words.

    As for the people who mistakenly substitute 'adieu', my advice to them is not to use words or phrases that they don't understand, or that don't make sense.

    Saying "without further adieu" is like being put on a pedal stool.

    And since it goes without saying, I wont say it.

      ROFL. A pedal stool.

    Precision ≠ Being concise. Both are useful or counterproductive depending on context.

    I'm guilty of saying it, but agree that it's pretty pointless in writing.

    Sorry, I didn't realise the goal of writing was to minimise the number of words used.

      Just for the purpose of padding? Hard to think of a situation that would benefit from the insertion of that particular phrase. And yes, I consider economy of language important.

    I think the point, though is that this is irrelevant in a WRITTEN context. In speech, I agree about its utility in dramatic effect, but I can't see a reason why anyone would need to write it, except when directly quoting someone.

    How about the word "firstly". Is that even a proper word? I don't think I've ever heard it used. Isn't the same message conveyed using less letters: "First, it’s meaningless filler. Second, it’s frequently..."

    Actully I think Tis article was a great deal of ado and so without any more of it, I am off to read the next article.

      +1
      Much ado about nothing... Adieu, adieu, adieu, to you, and you, and you!

      My apologies to Shakespeare as well as Rogers & Hammerstein.

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