“Overall”

“Overall” (general/de conjunto) you may know. The word is often used unwisely. Examine these:

  • Overall, Mr. Sanchez´s Covid vaccine programme has been a disaster.
  • My overall impression of the government is one of vacillation.
  • Mr. Podemos is no longer in overall charge of his political party.

Are they grammatically correct? Yes. There is a flaw – “overall” adds nothing to the meaning of the sentence. “Overall” is tautological (tautológico) because it adds no meaning.
“To be in charge” means just that, and the word overall adds nothing except to indicate that the writer has an unthinking mind (una mente irreflexiva). If my impresión of the government is one of vacillation, then that says everything: “overall” adds nothing.
So why not write?

  • Mr. Sanchez´s Covid vaccine programme has been a disaster.
  • My impression … is one of vacillation.
  • Mr. Podemos is no longer in charge….

There is one area where “overall” adds meaning. Examine this sentence:

  • Mr. Sanchez, the Spanish Prime Minister, did not get an overall majority. His party got the majority of the seats in the Parliament, but he did not win enough seats to govern without the support of others.

Here “overall” adds meaning as the idea of a “majority party” is different.
The lesson? Adding more words that add nothing to the sentence is a mistake.

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