Usage and Grammar

Q. A colleague and I have a conflict. I don’t like the use of and also in sentences like the following: “We walked and also ran the two blocks to the post office.” I would change the sentence to “We both walked and ran the two blocks to the post office” or “We not only walked but also ran the two blocks to the post office.” What’s your take on the use of and with also, two words close in meaning? My colleague says one is a conjunction and the other an adverb, so the combination is fine.

A. And also is conventional and grammatical. It can be used clumsily (as in the sentence you quote), and sometimes the also is superfluous, but there’s no need to avoid it when it’s used well. Here is an instance of its use in CMOS (at 15.26):

As Edward Tufte points out, “A graphical element may carry data information and also perform a design function usually left to non-data-ink.”

In that sentence, also carries some weight: rather than meaning simply and, it has an added connotation of “contrary to expectations.”