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Given a sentence

Please sign on the duplicate copy of this letter.

Am I correct in thinking that either duplicate or copy should be used, not both of them?

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What is your question? –  deadly Mar 12 '13 at 17:00
    
Check out google.com/search?&q=define+"Duplicate+copy"; –  Kris Mar 13 '13 at 13:15
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closed as not a real question by MετάEd, tchrist, Kristina Lopez, aedia λ, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Mar 15 '13 at 1:31

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3 Answers

Duplicate signifies that the copy is exact (not redacted). In this case duplicate copy is not redundant; it is a qualifier. Could be stated otherwise: Please sign and return the duplicate edition of the enclosed document.

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I think your confusion stems from the multiple definitions of the word copy. It sounds like you think copy refers to the 1st definition of copy, "an imitation, reproduction, or transcript of an original" when in fact it is the 3rd definition that is being used, "written matter intended to be reproduced in printed form."

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Unless you regard the envelope as containing two copies of the information. That is the original is also a (hard)copy of the file stored electronically, which will be archived to serve as the ultimate reference in case of dispute.

In which case, it is entirely reasonable for the recipient to retain one copy (the original) and to sign and return the other copy (the duplicate).

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