Yellow Card to Vecsey for Grammar Foul in Gelsenkirchen

In his otherwise-stinging postmortem of the U.S. team’s loss to the Czechs in the opening round of the World Cup, George Vecsey did the unpardonable in yesterday’s Times:

“…The Czechs played the way they can; the Americans reverted halfway back toward 1990 when they were drubbed, 5-1…”

We all know that the verb “reverted” contains the direction “back” in it. To add “back,” as Vecsey does, is thoroughly redundant. So similar to the common error: “He referred back to the text”, or “The girl returned back to the house.” To refer is to go back. To return is to turn back. Adding the word “back” may appear to solidify your meaning but it only exposes your ignorance…

Yellow Card to Vecsey for Grammar Foul in Gelsenkirchen