The Lurking ‘Also’


“It keeps popping up, and I don’t know why it’s there!”

Grammar Smith really didn’t want to start her Monday morning with a paranoid Maven Syntassein.

“Okay, Maven, what’s the problem today?”

“It’s ‘also’! It keeps showing up everywhere. Sure, it’s not like it’s wrong for it to be there, but I just can’t shake the feeling I’m being stalked.”

Grammar turned to her computer, brought up a complaint form, and [also] started filling it in.

“Can you describe the incidents for me?” Grammar took a sip of her morning coffee.

“Well, ‘also’ seems to tag along with ‘and’ far too much for my taste.”

Maven gave three examples:

  • He had dinner, dessert and also a glass of port.
  • She was head of Markitup Corporation, and also she held a degree in ergonomic engineering.
  • The group traveled to Italy, Austria, and also the Czech Republic.

“It does seem to be annoyingly present where there is no need for it, but ‘also’ isn’t doing anything illegal,” Grammar pointed out.

“But those aren’t the only situations! ‘Also’ shows up with ‘not only…but,’ too.”

Grammar typed in the three examples Maven gave her:

  • Not only were the verbs boring, but they were also in the wrong tense.
  • He had not only rushed into the room, but also tracked mud on the Persian rug.
  • It was not only redundant but also irritating.

“Maven, not only is it legal for ‘also’ to be there, it is [also] very difficult with these examples to make a case for stalking.”

Maven glanced nervously around the room, licked her lips, and [also] tightened her grip on her laptop.

“But it’s everywhere!

“Our hands are tied,” Grammar explained, “but I’ll see if our patrol squads can be more visible. Maybe that will keep ‘also’ from showing up so much.”

Maven left, grateful for that little bit of assurance. Grammar didn’t see where it would make much difference.

She finished her now cold coffee and [also] turned the verb tense cases that were more pressing.