There have been several previous posts regarding what Y-H-B has called “linguistic dross” in contemporary American English, especially with reference to media language. One locution that now needs special mention is “let me be (perfectly) clear/to be clear,” heard ad nauseum from persons being interviewed or making public pronouncements.

Of course, one could simply write this particular piece of dross off as an example of needless emphasis, a species of linguistic hypertrophy characteristic of contemporary American speech in all domains. What raises Y-H-B’s hackles everytime he hears it, however, is its undeniable superfluity. What has preceded its appearance in the speech of those who insert it typically requires no clarification at all. In the legal jargon that resorts to Latin this phenomenon is what is called res ipsa loquitur.