How to Use Needless to Say

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  • 0:04 Example Use
  • 0:28 Used for Emphasis
  • 0:51 Structural Patterns
  • 2:52 Should You Use It?
  • 3:17 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Charles Kinney, Jr.
''Needless to say'' can be a tricky expression. It may seem that an expression that says ''needless to say'' might not need to be said. In this lesson, you will learn the correct usage of ''needless to say'' and when to use the expression.

Example Use

You meet a friend for lunch on a Monday and she tells you about a party she went to on Saturday night. ''I could not believe my eyes. There must have been over 100 people dancing and having a good time. Then, out of the blue, this new band from Sweden no one had ever heard of, The Flaming Smorgasbords, showed up and performed live! They were amazing. I have never been to a such a crazy party like that but, needless to say, it was wild!''

Used for Emphasis

If something is unnecessary to say, then why say ''needless to say?''

''Needless to say'' is an expression that means something that is obvious, or already understood or known. The phrase is now primarily used for emphasis, giving the reader or listener a clue that the information is so obvious it shouldn't be mentioned at all. The only reason you are saying the information is to show how extreme something is or was.

Structural Patterns

Most of the time, ''needless to say'' is not a necessary part of the sentence, and you will see that it's offset, or surrounded, by commas. If you read the sentence, with the phrase eliminated, the sentence will still make sense and be a complete sentence.

''Needless to say'' usually follows these structural patterns:

1. Needless to say + comma (,) + sentence saying the obvious

Here are some examples:

  • Needless to say, getting drenched by that rainstorm makes me wish I had brought my umbrella.

  • Needless to say, Jack's mother was very happy to see her son when he returned from his tour overseas.

  • The average summer temperature in Death Valley is 110°. Needless to say, that is one hot desert!

In these sentences, ''needless to say'' is not surrounded by commas because it's at the beginning of the sentence. However, as you can see, the phrase is not necessary in any of these sentences; it's just adding emphasis.

2. Subject/noun (a person, place, or thing) and verb (the action) of a sentence + needless to say + object of a sentence

Here are some examples:

  • He sent her 10 dozen roses! He is, needless to say, crazy in love.

  • This past Christmas not only did I get to see my whole family, but I also got everything I asked for and more! It was, needless to say, a wonderful day.

  • She was, needless to say, devastated by the theft of her brand new BMW.

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