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Words

Note 115 – What is tautology?


It is common to find tautologies in writing and most of the time it goes unnoticed.  The Collins English Dictionary & Thesaurus defines tautology as “the use of words that merely repeat elements of the meaning already conveyed, as in ‘Will these supplies be adequate enough?’ in place of ‘Will these supplies be adequate?’“.

Graham King in his book Collins Improve your Writing Skills calls tautology a “language misuse” and has a whole chapter on the subject.  Included at the end of the chapter is an “A-Z of Tautology”.  I found this so interesting that I have made up a few sentences using some of the more common tautologies.  As a test, see if you can spot them – there are 13 examples altogether:

“I have really excellent news; my personal friend has just recently had a pair of twins.  The present I bought for the two tiny little babies didn’t feel sufficient enough, so I gathered together with some friends and went shopping.  We had to hurry up because there were gale force winds and they were threatening to shut the shops early.  The end result was that we got something utterly unique.  The added bonus was that we got a free gift with it, which I gave to my friend.

Did you spot them all?  I have repeated the text at the end with the tautologies in bold. I have also written the passage without them – see if you can have a go before looking!

My thoughts: The above passage was actually quite difficult to write, because I wouldn’t naturally place some of the words together; however, there were some that I use all the time.  It will certainly make me think about the sentences I write and the ones I read from now on.  As Graham King says, “avoiding redundant words and expressions is the sign of a caring writer”.  I like that idea!

That’s it for today. Don’t forget that you can subscribe to receive my daily blogs by email so that you don’t miss any. Just click ‘sign me up’ on the home page. Alternatively you can follow my blogs on Twitter @madeirasandra or my Tips and Luxuries Facebook page.

Until tomorrow…

Sandra

My writing challenge: http://wp.me/p1x6Ui-4

This blog: https://mywritingnotebook.wordpress.com

My other blog: http://sandramadeira.wordpress.com

My website: www.tipsandluxuries.com (includes the introduction to my upcoming book ‘A Gift for Stressed and Busy Parents’)

Twitter: @madeirasandra and @tipsandluxuries

Reference list:

Collins English Dictionary & Thesaurus (UK)

Graham King The Collins Improve your Punctuation, UK

Note 115 (answers):

“I have really excellent news; my personal friend has just recently had a pair of twins.  The present I bought for the two tiny little babies, didn’t feel sufficient enough, so I gathered together with some friends and went shopping.  We had to hurry up because there were gale force winds and they were threatening to shut the shops early.  The end result was that we got something utterly unique.  The added bonus was that we got a free gift with it, which I gave to my friend.

The suggested passage out without the tautologies:

“I have excellent news; my friend has recently had twins.  The present I bought for the two babies, didn’t feel enough, so I gathered some friends and went shopping.  We had to hurry because there were high winds and they were threatening to shut the shops early.  The result was that we got something unique.  The bonus was that we got a gift with it, which I gave to my friend.”

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About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Please let me know what you think of my blog - constructive comments welcome. Have a great day Sandra Freelance Writer www.sandramadeira.com

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