Ribbon-cutting and groundbreaking

Ceremonies are always great events, right? The city is breaking ground on a new development, or the library is opening a new branch.

All local papers cover these types of events, and many write the phrases ribbon-cutting ceremony and groundbreaking ceremony.

This is redundant.

From the Webster's New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition (the dictionary preferred by The Associated Press):
ribbon- cutting (n.) a ceremony marking the official opening of a site, the commencement of its construction, etc., typically involving the cutting of a ribbon suspended across an entrance
groundbreaking (n.) a groundbreaking ceremony for a new building
Now, for groundbreaking, I can see more of an argument of using it as an adjective, which is the first use of the word in the dictionary.

Still, I think you would be hard-pressed to find someone who wouldn't understand the word as a noun.


JD said...

I'm not at all familiar with the use of 'groundbreaking' as a noun - maybe because I'm a Brit? I am familiar with it as an adjective to mean 'innovative'.

'Ribbon-cutting' as a noun is fine, but even then I am more familiar with it being used as an adjective.

So for clarity's sake, writers might be well advised to keep to 'groundbreaking ceremony' and (possibly) 'ribbon-cutting ceremony'.

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