Have you ever had to pay for a gift? If so, the giver was kind of terrible and you were a bit too naïve.
Shouldn’t gifts be free? And if something is given for free, isn’t it pretty much a gift?
Visit today for your free gift; Earn a free gift with your purchase; Discover your free gift inside.
We all know people get excited about the word “free,” but this redundancy simply isn’t necessary. Use “free” or use “gift,” but never both combined. Please.
At what point in history did “free gift” come to be?
The answer may surprise you.
“Free gift” isn’t a modern, gimmick-inspired invention. This redundant pairing of words goes back a long, long time. In fact, according to Google Books’ Ngram Viewer, it’s been used as far back as the 1500s.
One of the most commonly discussed older uses of “free gift” is actually in the King James Bible (completed in 1611). Romans 5:16 refers to the “free gift” of God in this translation, even though—interestingly enough—there is no Greek word for “free” within the original line. In other words, these early translators added the redundant word to make a stronger point.
Fascinating? Absolutely. Enough so to make me okay with seeing “free gift” all over the place? Not at all.
Of course, I know someone out there is going to argue that no gift is ever truly free, so the distinction is indeed needed. But whoever you are, sir, I disagree.