Avoid Grammatical Tautologies to Never Repeat the Same Thing Twice

Much has been written about the difference between them , theirs and there , about when to use who versus whom, and the difference between affect and effect . But tautologies? You would be forgiven if you heard that word and thought, “ Well what the hell is this ?

From a grammatical point of view, tautology is the use of different words to say the same thing twice. At the risk of being tautological, this is unnecessary repetition or redundancy. If you are the type of person who cares about avoiding common mistakes in writing such as verbosity , we have found you. Here is a list of some of the more common tautologies that you can’t help but notice. We apologize in advance.

(Armed) Rifleman: Well, of course he was armed. He was a militant.

At that moment (in time) : Moment means “short period of time.”

(Hot) Water Heater : If it is a water heater, this refers to the “hot” part.

Depreciation (by value) : If it depreciates, it falls in value.

First (and foremost) , it just says “important” twice.

(Closeness) Closeness : Closeness itself means closeness .

(Over) exaggeration : Exaggeration is a sharper or more dramatic depiction of something. “Above” is redundant.

(Decaying) Ruins: Decay is part of the description of how the ruins work.

Essential essentials: if needed, they are needed. And vice versa. (The same goes for “necessary requirement”.)

In my opinion (I think): This is why this is your opinion. Because you think so.

Adequate (sufficient) : Adequate means “satisfactory or acceptable in quality or quantity”; aka enough.

Warn (in advance) : To warn means to inform someone … in advance.

He did it (with his own hands) : If he did it, whose other hands would he use?

(Please) RSVP : It’s always nice to say please. But strictly speaking, this is not necessary, since RSVP stands for the answer, s’il vous plaît (please answer in French).

(New) innovation : All innovations are new.

(Flash) hysterics : hysterics is an uncontrollable emotional outburst; the word temperament is not needed.

Travel to work (round trip) : Travel to work is movement to and from work. Implied back and forth.

Evolution (over time) : to evolve is to evolve gradually over time.

PIN, ATM : This has become common language, but the “N” in the PIN means “number” and the “M” in ATM means “machine”.

This is what it is : Thank you for clarifying this.


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