To many people, the phrase in and of itself sounds clunky and old-fashioned. However, when used sparingly—and correctly—it serves a purpose.
The weather was not, in and of itself, the cause of the traffic delays.
The weather was not the cause of the traffic delays.
In both sentences, we understand not to blame the weather for the traffic delays, but the first sentence tells us that the weather played some part in the traffic delays. The second sentence tells us that the weather had nothing to do with the traffic delays.
Posted on Friday, January 19, 2007, at 3:16 pm96 Comments on In and of Itself