I have heard people using two words that are nearly similar or with a subtle difference. The examples include 'each and every' & 'until and unless'. Is it correct to use these words in English? What if I use only one word of those two in the same sentence? Does the meaning change?

Explanation with examples will be better.

  • 1
    Which ethics are we talking about? Kant? Socrates? Derrida? Please clarify.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 9:46
  • I certainly don't find any "ethical" issues with redundancy, particularly when dealing with common expressions.
    – J.R.
    Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 9:47
  • Nearly similar?
    – Carsten S
    Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 10:11
  • The queries about the use of 'ethical' rather than say 'accepted' or 'usual' here arise because the 'acceptable' sense of ethical is so much more rarely used than the 'morally correct' sense that its unqualified use here is – let's say unusual. Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 10:26
  • 2
    Guys, stop having fun at expense of a learner. I'm fairly sure he meant "correct" or "accepted". @Dr Maulik V: English for Language Learners may be a better site to ask such questions.
    – SF.
    Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 10:35

1 Answer 1


I am not sure what you mean by 'ethical practice'. I don't see what would be 'unethical' about not using them. I am wondering if you meant something else.

Often these words mean almost exactly the same thing, such as 'each' and 'every'. But people simply couple them in order to reinforce a point being made e.g. 'I address each and every person here assembled', stresses that nobody is excluded.

'Unless and until' is a similar example since although the two words have different meanings, 'until' effectively overrides unless, such as in: 'Unless and until I have news, I will not be able to tell you anything'.

  • 4
    This type of expression involves two words comprising, usually with the conjunction and or or, a type of collocation probably most commonly known as 'Siamese twins'. There exist similar expressions where more than three words are joined, eg 'hook, line and sinker'. The fact that an alternative term for the doublet is 'irreversible binomials' shows that the ordering is non-negotiable. 'Each and every' is a pleonastic-looking (but used for emphasis) repetition of synonyms. 'Unless and until' does use non-identical twins. Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 10:19
  • To echo @Edwin's point, this practice is rather common (and therefore quite ethical, I think): forever and always, tried and tested, and vigor and vim are a few more examples that come to mind.
    – J.R.
    Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 10:21

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