Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Is there a word that describes when someone tells you to do the thing that you are already doing? It seems there should be a word for that. Or at least there should be a word for it so that you can tell people to stop doing it to you.

share|improve this question
Some people say things that are redundant. –  Autoresponder Nov 26 '13 at 3:21
If more than one word is allowed, perhaps an expression such as Stop parenting me! or Stop taunting me! might be used, but that depends on the context. –  Damkerng T. Nov 26 '13 at 6:37

6 Answers 6

You could call it a "superfluous instruction", with superfluous meaning unnecessary excess.

share|improve this answer

It seems unlikely that a specific word for this situation since this context isn't likely to occur under normal circumstances. There are a few related terms, however, and the most seemingly apt is micromanage:

micromanage — 1.To manage, direct, or control a person, group, or system to an unnecessary level of detail or precision.

Wikipedia has a relatively good description of this kind of behavior:

Rather than giving general instructions on smaller tasks and then devoting time to supervising larger concerns, the micromanager monitors and assesses every step of a business process and avoids delegation of decisions.

And suddenly appearing and demanding that someone starting doing the very task they are doing is likely to have similar causes to micromanagement.

Other than this term, the most relevant words are adjectives that merely describe the behavior:

  • redundant
  • unnecessary
  • repetitive

And so on.

share|improve this answer

Supererogatory: providing excessive iteration upon a prior command.

share|improve this answer
Supererogation refers to the doing of more than duty requires. It is similar, but I do not think that it quite fits the asker's question. –  Anonym Mar 21 at 17:17

I think the verb "to nag" may apply here. It seems to cover your request for a word that describes asking someone (probably repeatedly) to do something.


Full Definition of NAG intransitive verb 1: to find fault incessantly : complain 2: to be a persistent source of annoyance or distraction transitive verb 1: to irritate by constant scolding or urging 2: badger, worry

The only issue with "nag" is that it can apply whether or not someone is doing the requested task. Of course, if the person is already doing it, they would be upset that they are being asked to do something they're already doing. On the other hand, if they aren't already doing it, they may still be upset about repeated urging to do it.

A similar word is "to badger": http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/badger

share|improve this answer

I think there is some good terms already given for someone who is repeating themselves but they don't really portray the action of repeating while the person is doing the action.

The term that conveys this is ride. Also the phrase riding [your/their/his/her] ass.


Mom: Are you cleaning your room?

Kid: Can't you see that I am?

Mom: Well it only gets done if I am riding your ass.

share|improve this answer

You could use reiterate.

From Vocabulary.com: To reiterate something is to say or do something again, or many times.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.