What is tautology?

I enjoyed a newspaper article recently looking at the quirks of the language, with popular misconceptions,  malapropisms and genuine shops names. (My favourites were Sellfridges fridge shop in Stoke Newington and Napoleon Boiler Parts in Hampshire).

Best of all was a section on tautology  - which means saying the same thing twice. Many of us don’t realise we are doing it, but cutting it out of our documents makes for a better and more succinct writing style.

We cover this in depth at our workshops, but here are some examples to get you thinking:

Free gift (because if it isn’t free, it isn’t a gift)

Work colleague

Pick and choose

Added bonus

Short in stature

Mutual consent.

 

There’s a tautology question on our Sentence Works flyer and it’s baffled a few people.

You don’t say “launching a new product” because a launch always involves something new. After all you can’t really launch an old product, can you? You can of course relaunch something, but adding the “re” prefix makes clear that you are not doing it for the first time.