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Nothing’s for free

21 August 2013

Nothing in this world comes for free.

That’s not to say you never get anything for nothing. Nor do we mean things are never free. Plenty of stuff is handed out by marketers, charities and overwhelmingly generous relatives on a daily basis.

Only last week, for example, a nice lady in a supermarket was dishing out tiny chunks of extra-mature cheddar to anyone who cared to stop for a quick bite. And very nice they were too.

We took the cheese. We ate the cheese. I dare say we even got that little bit fatter thanks to the cheese’s tasty calories and cholesterols. And no, we didn’t pay for the cheese. We didn’t blag it, and we certainly didn’t steal it.

Most of all, we didn’t get that cheddar for free.

We got it for nothing.

We got it without paying.

We got it free of charge.

We got it free.

But it was not for free.

We expect you’ve probably worked out what we’re getting at by now: the redundant, superfluous and downright annoying addition of the preposition for in front of the word free.

It’s just unnecessary.

If we’re lucky enough to receive something without having to spend any money on it, we get it free. We say, “This fantastic cheese was free.” We might even say, “This cheese was free of charge.” We definitely wouldn’t say, “This cheese was for free of charge.”

Similarly, imagine our tangy cheddar cost 10p. We might say we bought if for 10p, and we could tell you we paid 10p. Or we could simply say the cheese was 10p. But we surely wouldn’t say, “The cheddar was for 10p.” That’s plain wrong.

Or what if there was a sign in the supermarket, urging us to sample those delicious dairy products? It might proclaim, “Ten blocks of cheese available free,” or, “ten free blocks of cheese on offer.” Not, “Ten blocks available for free,” or, “ten for free blocks of cheese on offer.”

So please, if you write stuff for a living or get paid to talk on TV, stop uttering that dumbed-down phrase, ‘for free.’ And yes, we’re including you in that statement, BBC News.

It’s just a little tip we’d like to pass on.

You can have it on us. Completely free.

We like cheese!

We like cheese!

 

Posted by Dan.


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Spoon Media, Cleatham, Kirton Lindsey, Nr Gainsborough, North Lincolnshire DN21 4JN
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