For good measure

If you add something "for good measure," you give it in addition to what was expected or necessary.

Today's story: Britain's election
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For good measure

Today’s expression is “for good measure.” For good measure simply means “in addition to what has already been done.” Don’t try to take this one literally; just trust me when I say it means, “in addition to what you already have” or “in addition to what’s already been done or given.”

In these cases, you typically have a big chunk of something, which is the most important and then someone gives is a little something extra. Boris Johnson’s campaign focused relentlessly on the message that he would “get Brexit done.” Over and over, he repeated the promise. He was disciplined and focused on this one message. Sure, he threw in some extra social spending for good measure, but the primary promise was about Brexit.

If you go to New York on vacation, you might visit the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building, Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Statue of Liberty—and a few pizza restaurants for good measure. The pizza is good, but it’s not the main reason you go. It’s in addition.

Speaking of New York, bagels are very popular there at breakfast time. You can get a single bagel, but it’s common to buy a dozen bagels in New York if you have a family to feed over the weekend. If you buy a dozen bagels, the clerk may throw a thirteenth bagel in for good measure. Bagels are pretty cheap to make, so if you’re already buying 12, why not throw in one more for good measure? That’s the thinking there. One more in addition to the 12 you paid for.

Quote of the week

Today’s quote is not a full quote—more of an epithet. An epithet is disparaging phrase. But it’s timely. In Britain, the political parties publish manifestos before elections. The manifesto is the party’s plan for what it will do if elected. It’s usually a long list of proposals and policy ideas. The party itself draws up the manifesto. Voters select an individual candidate and the individual candidates campaign, say what they believe, et cetera, but the manifesto is the document that supposedly binds the whole party together. Anyway, in 1983, the British Labour party had a very left-wing manifesto, which, ironically, included withdrawal from the European Economic Community, a precursor to the EU.

One Labour politician at the time, Gerald Kaufman, felt sure that the manifesto was too left-wing to gain acceptance among voters. He was sure it would spell defeat for his party. And so he called the 39-page Labour manifesto “the longest suicide note in history.” And indeed it was a big loss for Labour that year. This year’s Labour manifesto was three times as long, and even less effective. So perhaps it is the new “longest suicide note in history.”


That’s all for today. Coming up next time on Plain English, Garmin is most known for navigational devices in cars. Those are largely obsolete now that we have driving directions on our phones. But you’ll be interested to know what Garmin has been developing high above our heads: a sort of autopilot for landing planes in an emergency. That’s coming up on Thursday. Don’t miss it!

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Story: Britain's election