Slice of Life Story Challenge -Dealing With Double Trouble!

While reading Jeff Anderson’s excellent book, 'Ten Things A Writer NeedsTo Know' yesterday, I noticed that Jeff tells his students that tautology means ‘DOUBLE TROUBLE.’  This mention of tautology sparked a memory of how annoying it is to hear such redundancy used frequently and unknowingly. Well, annoying for me anyway.
Here are a few that immediately come to mind:
  • At the present time
  • Very unique
  • Mystery puzzle
  • Wet monsoon
  • Past history
  • Pair of twins
  • Free gift
  • Sad misfortune
  • Invited guests
  • End result
  • Boat marina
  • Will and testament
  • ATM machine
You get the idea…

Tautology occurs everywhere it seems. When I lived in America, the frequently used term, ‘TUNA FISH sandwich’ left me constantly bemused. At JFK airport, I would sit waiting for my flight home to Australia and at regular intervals I would hear the announcement, ‘This is the LAST and FINAL call for flight…’

In Australia, I frequently hear people offering an opinion and qualifying it with, ‘If you ask ME PERSONALLY, well I think…’ and I’m sure we don’t need to hear FINAL and SHOWDOWN alongside each other every time a sporting contest is promoted on television. I certainly don’t need to RETURN BACK to the program I am viewing! Tautology is rife on television.

Ah yes, it happens everywhere. Tautology is not strictly a figure of speech, but merely a commonly occurring error in speech and writing.  In writing, such redundancy is referred to as, pleonasm. I confess, I did not know that until I did some research. Well, whatever it is, it clearly annoys some of us more than others…

Comments

  1. Tautology is a new word for me. My favorite set of words annoy me is "Government paper reduction act" - I cringe when I read them. Your post made me smile. Thank you

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  2. It's a new word for me as well. I have the sneaky feeling I'm going to be seeing tautologies (is that even correct?) everywhere now. :)

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  3. I have to admit I wasn't annoyed by most of them until I came to "Last and final call..." and "return back to our show." I agree I'm going to see them everywhere and now I'll make sure not in my own writing ~ Thanks!

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  4. I have never heard this term. Thanks for the post! It happens so frequently, it makes me wonder if people are pre-disposed (redundant, I know) to expressing themselves this way.

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  5. Oh great, now I have to watch my words to make sure I'm not doing that. Thanks for this interesting post and I agree, redundancy is annoying.

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  6. I'm reading Jeff Anderson's 'Mechanically Inclined' right now. I haven't heard of 'Ten Things a Writer Needs to Know' but I'll have to check it out! Tautology is also new to me, but I loved the examples you shared. I guess redundancy doesn't really annoy me too much, but it probably will now.

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  7. I love this Alan. One of my favorites...hot water heater...we don't heat hot water:) Although I hear others say these things I know I am guilty as well. Many of them are passed down through generations. Your posts always leave me smiling:)

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  8. I love this Alan. One of my favorites...hot water heater...we don't heat hot water:) Although I hear others say these things I know I am guilty as well. Many of them are passed down through generations. Your posts always leave me smiling:)

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  9. Good post! It's always bugged me when people say tuna-fish. Now I feel like someone understands!

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  10. Reading the comments made me realize that I ce across tautology when studying philosophy. Pat's very enthusiastic about your book.i'm also reading Jeff Anderson's 'Ten Things...'.

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  11. Oh Alan, I love this. I am probably guilty of some tautological missteps myself, but I do get annoyed when I see and hear them around me. Now I know I'm not alone!

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  12. A new word! Thanks for the mini-lesson, complete with examples. :)

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  13. Alan,
    I enjoyed reading your entertaining and interesting post. ~ Theresa

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  14. Uh,oh! I'm guilty of some of those! I was in Starbucks not long ago and after ordering a chai tea, the lady behind me said, "Chai is tea." I was a little embarrassed, but that's how I've always heard everyone order it. I still order it the same way! : )

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  15. Oh my, I'm so guilty of at least a few of those. Tuna fish - YIKES! Thanks for the lesson. I'll never say "free gift" again.

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