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Tautology

A tautology is a form of circumlocution or a pleonasm1, where for emphasis a speaker or writer uses more words than necessary to express a thought.  A tautology is also called a redundancy.

When people are very excited or enthusiastic, they tend to repeat themselves for effect and sometime say the same thing twice or more. They hope it will add power to their communications.

Alexander Buzo, a noted Australian dramatist had a hobby of collecting tautologies. Each year from 1977 – 82 he conducted the Australian Indoor Tautology Pennant to see who could compose the most outlandish tautology.    Here are some of his favourites:

 

“I don’t want to sound incredulous, but I can’t believe it”

“Two twins in a vacant gap”

“Let me recapitulate to what I said previously”

“How many players in your quartet?

“You’re like a wandering nomad”

“The try was firstly initiated by …..”

 “We could put a footnote at the end of the article.”

“Please report back to me”

“We are sick of being attacked by the press in the media.”

“It is a unique offer that will never be repeated”

“Bargain basement downstairs”

“He is a paid professional”

“This music had it antecedents in the past”

“I saw him visibly wilt”

“He gave him a verbal tongue lashing”

         “it’s like deja vu all over again” Yogi Berra  

1pleonasm \PLEE-uh-naz-uhm\, noun:

1. The use of more words than are necessary to express an idea; as, "I saw it with my own eyes."

2. A superfluous word or expression.

3. redundancy,   tautology

Pleonasm is from Greek pleonasmos, from pleon, "greater, more."

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How do you transmute a cliche into a tautology? Janet Albrechtsen and the Reverend Spooner can show you how! The first sentence in her article "No place for ideological agendas in our classrooms" reads as follows:

"In the gentle, uplit sunlands of Kevindom, our public schools will be places of particular virtue."

Uplit sunlands? Sounds like Kevindom might be a bit bright.


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