And because I was the person to clean up all the glass bottles, then I would find the wads of cash on the floor. So it was good. I’d get my wages, I’d get tips, and then I would get my own personal tips from finding money on the floor.

From (http://www.elllo.org/english/1301/T1350-amy-money-floor.htm)

The speaker is talking about her experience working on the floor of a nightclub.

I think "own" and "personal" are pretty much the same. Is "personal" redundant here? How does it contribute to the meaning of the sentence?

  • 1
    Personal tips are tips given to her personally, rather than just to the staff (regular tips). Obviously, her personal tips would also be her own, so you could argue that own is redundant here, but it does add to the meaning that these were tips given to her as a person, and belonging to her exclusively. It doesn’t jar and is very natural English (which, don’t forget, is full of redundancy just like all languages are). Commented May 20, 2019 at 10:14
  • I got it . Thanks for your help. Commented May 20, 2019 at 10:29
  • Would you mind putting it as an answer? Then I will accept it. Commented May 20, 2019 at 10:31
  • 1
    By my own, it also means that she got the tips herself (on her own) rather than having them handed to her by somebody else. The syntax doesn't explicitly say that, but I think it's implied. Commented May 20, 2019 at 17:21

3 Answers 3


Agreeing with and adding to Janus Bahs Jacquet's explanation in comments to the original post.

I’d get my wages, I’d get tips, and then I would get my own personal tips from finding money on the floor.

The sentence is a list of the benefits of working at the club.

  1. Wages
  2. Tips
  3. My own personal tips

She could have said "my personal tips" or "my own tips" and the meaning would be understood. The repetition of synonyms adds emphasis and (as Janus Bahs Jacquet points out in comments to the original post) communicates that these tips don't have to be shared. The words "own" and "personal" are repetitive but they are not redundant.


not or no longer needed or useful; superfluous English Oxford Living Dictionaries


the action of repeating something that has already been said or written English Oxford Living Dictionaries

  • That is not the OED. Please fix all these fake links.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jun 2, 2019 at 22:29
  • @tchrist The previously linked search page uses from the free side of OED to provide definitions. I linked to the search page to offer the opportunity to easily see other definitions given by other dictionaries. the citation has been updated to prevent confusion and the link goes directly to en.oxforddictionaries.com.
    – David D
    Commented Jun 3, 2019 at 14:22

Is "personal" redundant here? No. This word signals that the meaning of "tips" is now going to be somewhat different.

How does it contribute to the meaning of the sentence? It signals that we are going to another level. The first level of payment is the formal wages, the second is the tips, and the now the new level is the findings while doing the (perhaps yucky) cleaning.

Note that the general tips may be coming from the tip jar, which may be apportioned out equally, or according to some scheme, such as "The fast and nasty get the most."


I can certainly understand why you would think that "personal" might be potentially redundant here. It adds repetitive emphasis to the sentence to distinguish what she finds and keeps as her own from the legitimate wages and tips she receives.

For her to say, "I’d get my wages, I’d get tips, and then I would get my own personal tips from finding money on the floor" reads as redundant because putting it that way is an excuse or euphemism for wrongfully keeping "the big wads of cash" that customers inadvertently dropped on the floor of the club during the course of regular business.

Claiming such funds are her "own personal tips" is disingenuous. It is not her money, not the club's money, nor was it intended as a gratuity for the staff in general or for her in particular. Found currency, like any other lost or mislaid property (e.g., a cell phone, jacket, purse, keys or wallet) should be returned to the rightful owner whenever possible. If the rightful owner cannot be identified (by reviewing security footage from inside the club or holding the funds in the club's lost-and-found department until claimed), then it should be turned over to the authorities.

For example, according to a 2014 article in Time Magazine,

"In California, there is a law mandating that any found property valued over $100 be turned over to police. Authorities must then wait 90 days, advertise the lost property for a week, and finally release it to the person who found it if no one could prove ownership."

"Theft by finding in the United States" [sic], an article in Wikipedia that deals with the history of larceny by finding in jurisprudence, primarily cites English case law on the subject from the late seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, as well as the current Australian NSW Crimes Act 1900 No 40 Part 4 Division 5 Section 124 titled, Fraudulent appropriation.

In terms of English usage, the sentence is understandably misleading, and you were right to call it out.

  • 1
    OP asked for an explanation, not a judgment. Commented May 21, 2019 at 4:00
  • I agree. I hope my edits have improved the answer. Thank you for pointing that out. Commented May 21, 2019 at 16:05
  • Now it's only judgmental, not disrespectful in tone. I guess that's better, maybe. My personal opinion is that if someone drops small amounts of money at a bar, then the person who does the dirty work should get to keep it. We have no indication that anyone at the bar sees things differently than I do. Okay, you see things differently; but you're not personally involved in that scenario, as far as I know. You are certainly entitled to your opinion (which I personally find sanctimonious). By the way, I saw nothing in the passage to suggest the droppings were greater than $100. Commented May 22, 2019 at 4:03
  • Sanctimonious? Ouch. I'm not claiming any sort of moral superiority, quite the contrary. I was surprised when I researched the topic. In 2017 a woman in the UK was convicted of theft and fined £175 for keeping a £20 note she found on the floor of a convenience store. Our opinions are irrelevant. Commented May 23, 2019 at 16:55
  • Did the finder of the 20 pound note work there? Did she have the pleasure of cleaning a yucky floor in the wee hours of the morning every day after closing? To me, that affects the moral balance. But we don't have to agree on, or even discuss the morality. The morality is irrelevant to OP's question. Commented May 23, 2019 at 17:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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