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Encyclopedia > Pleonasm

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Pleonasm is the use of more words (or even word-parts) than necessary to express an idea clearly. The word comes originally from Greek πλεονασμός ("excess"). A closely related, narrower concept (some would say a subset of pleonasm) is rhetorical tautology, in which essentially the same thing is said more than once in different words (e.g. "repeat again" instead of "repeat" or "say again"). Regardless, both are a form of redundancy. Pleonasm and tautology each refer to different forms of redundancy in speech and the written word. A word is a unit of language that carries meaning and consists of one or more morphemes which are linked more or less tightly together, and has a phonetical value. ... In morpheme-based morphology, a morpheme is the smallest lingual unit that carries a semantic interpretation. ... IDEA may refer to: Electronic Directory of the European Institutions IDEA League Improvement and Development Agency Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Indian Distance Education Association Integrated Data Environments Australia Intelligent Database Environment for Advanced Applications IntelliJ IDEA - a Java IDE Interactive Database for Energy-efficient Architecture International IDEA (International Institute... In rhetoric, a tautology is an unnecessary (and usually unintentional) repetition of meaning, utilising different words, i. ... In language, redundancy often takes the form of phrases which repeat a concept with a different word. ...


Pleonasm usage

Often, pleonasm is understood to mean a word or phrase which is useless, clichéd, or repetitive, but a pleonasm can also be simply an unremarkable use of idiom. It can even aid in achieving a particular linguistic effect, be it social, poetic, or literary. In other words, pleonasm sometimes serves the same function as rhetorical repetition — it reinforces a point, rendering writing clearer and easier to understand. Further, pleonasm can serve as a redundancy check: If a word is unknown, misunderstood, or misheard, or the medium of communication is poor — a wireless telephone connection or sloppy handwriting — pleonastic phrases can help ensure that the entire meaning gets across even if some of the words get lost. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... An idiom is an expression (i. ... In telecommunication, a redundancy check is extra data added to a message for the purposes of error detection and error correction. ...


Idiomatic expressions

Some pleonastic phrases are part of a language's idiom, like "safe haven" and "tuna fish" in English. They are so common that their use is unremarkable, although in many cases the redundancy can be dropped with no loss of meaning. The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ...


Pleonastic phrases like "off of" are common in spoken or informal written American English, such as when used in a phrase like "keep the cat off of the couch". In a satellite-framed language like English, verb phrases containing particles that denote direction of motion are so frequent that even when such a particle is pleonastic, it seems natural to include it. For other uses, see American English (disambiguation). ... In linguistics, verb framing is a term used to describe how verb phrases in different languages vary regarding whether the main verb tends to encode the manner of motion or the direction of motion. ... linguistics, a verb phrase or VP is a syntactic structure composed of the predicative elements of a sentence and functions in providing information about the subject of the sentence. ... In linguistics, the term particle is often employed as a useful catch-all lacking a strict definition. ...


Professional and scholarly use

Some pleonastic phrases, when used in professional or scholarly writing, may reflect a standardized usage that has evolved over time; or a precise meaning familiar to specialists, but not necessarily to those outside that discipline. One such example is legally operative language ("null and void", "terms and conditions", "each and all") often drafted into legal documents. Although such usage may be favored in certain contexts, it may also be disfavored when used gratuitously to portray false erudition, obfuscate, or otherwise introduce unnecessary verbiage. This is especially so in disciplines (such as the natural sciences) where such imprecision may introduce critical ambiguities.[1]


Stylistic preference

In addition, pleonasms can serve purposes external to meaning. For example, a speaker who is too terse often is interpreted as lacking ease or grace, because, in spoken and signed language, sentences are spontaneously created without the benefit of editing. The restriction on the ability to plan often creates much redundancy. In written language, removing words not strictly necessary sometimes makes writing seem stilted or awkward, especially if the words are cut from an idiomatic expression. In language, redundancy often takes the form of phrases which repeat a concept with a different word. ...


On the other hand, as is the case with any literary or rhetorical effect, excessive use of pleonasm weakens writing and speech; too many words distract from the content. Writers wanting to conceal a thought or a purpose obscure their meaning with verbiage. William Strunk Jr. advocated concision in The Elements of Style, (1918): William Strunk Jr. ... The Elements of Style, 2000 edition. ...

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.

Yet, one has only to look at Baroque, Mannerist, and Victorian sources for different opinions. Adoration, by Peter Paul Rubens. ... Mannerism is the usual English term for an approach to all the arts, particularly painting but not exclusive to it, a reaction to the High Renaissance, emerging after the Sack of Rome in 1527 shook Renaissance confidence, humanism and rationality to their foundations, and even Religion had split apart. ... Charles Dickens is still one of the best known English writers of any era. ...


Literary uses

  • "This was the most unkindest cut of all."—William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar.
  • "O LORD, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me;"—Psalm 3:1, New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. (The Psalms contain numerous similar examples.)
  • "From that day mortal, and this happie State/ Shalt loose, expell'd from hence into a World/ Of woe and sorrow"—John Milton, Paradise Lost. (See also Shakespeare's "Sonnet 81".)
  • "Beyond the garage were some decorative trees trimmed as carefully as poodle dogs."—Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep. (When Chandler wrote this line, poodles may not have been as widely known as now. He may have chosen the redundancy to assure his simile would be understood.)

Psalms (Tehilim תהילים, in Hebrew) is a book of the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh, and of the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. ... The Big Sleep is a 1939 novel by Raymond Chandler, with two film versions, one filmed in 1946, and another filmed in 1978. ...

Pleonasm types

There are two kinds of pleonasm: syntactic pleonasm and semantic pleonasm.


Syntactic pleonasm

Syntactic pleonasm occurs when the grammar of a language makes certain function words optional. For example, consider the following English sentences: For other uses, see Syntax (disambiguation). ... For the topic in theoretical computer science, see Formal grammar Grammar is the study of rules governing the use of language. ... Function words are words that have little lexical meaning or have ambiguous meaning, but instead serve to express grammatical relationships with other words within a sentence, or specify the attitude or mood of the speaker. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ...

"I know you are coming."
"I know that you are coming."

In this construction, the conjunction that is optional when joining a sentence to a verb phrase with know. Both sentences are grammatically correct, but the word that is considered pleonastic in this case. It has been suggested that Verbal agreement be merged into this article or section. ...


The same phenomenon occurs in Spanish with subject pronouns. Since Spanish is a null subject language, which allows subject pronouns to be deleted when understood, the following sentences mean the same:- A null subject language, in linguistic typology, is a language whose grammar permits a null subject, that is, the omission of an explicit subject in main clauses. ...

"Yo te amo."
"Te amo."

In this case, the pronoun yo ("I") is grammatically optional; both sentences mean "I love you" (however, they may not have the same tone or intention—this depends on pragmatics rather than grammar). Such differing but syntactically equivalent constructions, in many language, may also indicate a difference in register. The ability to understand another speakers intended meaning is called pragmatic competence. ... For other uses, see Syntax (disambiguation). ... In linguistics, a register is a subset of a language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting. ...


The process of deleting pronouns is called pro-dropping, and it also happens in many other languages, such as Portuguese, some Slavic languages, and Lao. A pro-drop language (from pronoun-dropping) is a language where pronouns can be deleted when they are in some sense pragmatically inferable (the precise conditions vary from language to language, and can be quite intricate). ...  Countries where a West Slavic language is the national language  Countries where an East Slavic language is the national language  Countries where a South Slavic language is the national language The Slavic languages (also called Slavonic languages), a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup...


The pleonastic ne (ne pléonastique) expressing uncertainty in formal French works as follows:

"Je crains qu'il ne pleuve."
("I fear it may rain.")
"Ces idées sont plus difficiles à comprendre que je ne pensais."
("These ideas are harder to understand than I thought.")

Two more striking examples of French pleonastic construction are the word "aujourd'hui" translated as "today", but originally meaning "on the day of today", and the phrase "Qu'est-ce que c'est?" meaning "What's that?" or "What is it?", while literally it means "What is it that it is?".


When Robert South said, "It is a pleonasam [sic], a figure usual in Scripture, by a multiplicity of expressions to signify one notable thing," he was observing the Biblical Hebrew poetic propensity to repeat thoughts in different words, a result of the fact that written Biblical Hebrew was a comparatively early form of written language and was written using oral patterning, which has lots of pleonasms. In particular, very many verses of the Psalms are split into two halves, each of which says much the same thing in different words. The complex rules and forms of written language as distinct from spoken language were not as well developed as they are today when the books making up the Judeo-Christian Old Testament were written. [2][3] See also parallelism (rhetoric). Robert South (September, 1634 - July 8, 1716), was an English churchman. ... Look up sic in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This Gutenberg Bible is displayed by the United States Library. ... Categories: Language stubs | Judaism-related stubs | Canaanite languages | Hebrew language ... Psalms (from the Greek: Psalmoi) (originally meaning songs sung to a harp, from psallein play on a stringed instrument, Ψαλμοί; Hebrew: Tehilim, תהילים) is a book of the Hebrew Bible, Tanakh or Old Testament. ... Judeo-Christian (or Judaeo-Christian) is a term used to describe the body of concepts and values which are thought to be held in common by Judaism and Christianity, and typically considered (sometimes along with classical Greco-Roman civilization) a fundamental basis for Western legal codes and moral values. ... Note: Judaism commonly uses the term Tanakh to refer to its canon, which corresponds to the Protestant Old Testament. ... Parallelism means to give two or more parts of the sentences a similar form so as to give the whole a definite pattern. ...


This same pleonastic style remains very common in modern poetry and songwriting (e.g., "Anne, with her father / is out in the boat / riding the water / riding the waves / on the sea", from Peter Gabriel's "Mercy Street"). Peter Brian Gabriel (born 13 February 1950, in Chobham, Surrey, England) is an English musician. ...


Semantic pleonasm

Semantic pleonasm is more a question of style and usage than grammar. Linguists usually call this redundancy to avoid confusion with syntactic pleonasm, a more important phenomenon for theoretical linguistics. It can take various forms, including: Linguistics is the scientific study of language, which can be theoretical or applied. ...

  • Overlap: One word's semantic component is subsumed by the other:
"Receive a free gift with every purchase."
"I ate a tuna fish sandwich."
"The plumber fixed our hot water heater." (This particular pleonasm was heavily attacked by George Carlin)
  • Prolixity: A phrase may have words which add nothing, or nothing logical or relevant, to the meaning.
"I'm going down south."
(South is not really "down", it is just drawn that way on maps by convention.)
"I can't seem to face up to the facts."

See List of redundant expressions for more examples. George Dennis Carlin (born May 12, 1937 in New York, New York)[2] is a Grammy-winning American stand-up comedian, actor, and author. ... This is an incomplete list, which may never be able to satisfy certain standards for completeness. ...


An expression like "tuna fish", however, might elicit one of many possible responses, such as:

  1. It will simply be accepted as synonymous with "tuna".
  2. It will be perceived as redundant (and thus perhaps silly, illogical, ignorant, inefficient, dialectal, odd, and/or intentionally humorous).
  3. It will imply a distinction. A reader of "tuna fish" could properly wonder: "Is there a kind of tuna which is not a fish? There is, after all, a dolphin mammal and a dolphin fish." This assumption turns out to be correct, as a "tuna" can also mean a prickly pear [1]; and "tuner" is pronounced the same in some dialects of English.
  4. It will be perceived as a verbal clarification, since the word "tuna" is quite short, and may be misheard as "tune" followed by an aspiration, for example.

This is a good reason for careful speakers and writers to be aware of pleonasms, especially with cases such as "tuna fish", which is normally used only in some dialects of American English, and would sound strange in other variants of the language, and even odder in translation into other languages. Species Many, see text Opuntia is a genus in the cactus family Cactaceae. ... A tuner is a device to adjust the resonant frequency of an antenna or transmission line to work most efficiently at one frequency or band of frequencies. ... See: Aspiration (phonetics) Aspiration (medicine) Aspiration (long-term hope) - see for example, Robert Goddards response to the ridicule by the New York Times, 1920: Every vision is a joke until the first man accomplishes it; once realized, it becomes commonplace. ... For other uses, see American English (disambiguation). ...


Note that not all constructions that are typically pleonasms are so in all cases, nor are all constructions derived from pleonasms themselves pleonastic:

"Put that glass over there on the table."
(Could, depending on room layout, mean "Put that glass on the table across the room, not the table right in front of you"; if the room were laid out like that, most English speakers would intuitively understand that the distant, not immediate table was the one being referred to; however, if there were only one table in the room, the phrase would indeed be pleonastic. Also, it could mean, "Put that glass on that certain spot on the table"; thus in this case it is not pleonastic.)
"I'm going way down south."
(May imply "I'm going much farther south than you might think if I didn't stress the southerliness of my destination"; but such phrasing is also sometimes—and sometimes jokingly—used pleonastically when simply "south" would do; it depends upon the context, the intent of the speaker/writer, and ultimately even on the expectations of the listener/reader.)

Morphemes, not just words, can enter the realm of pleonasm: Some word-parts are simply optional in various languages and dialects. A familiar example to American English speakers would be the allegedly optional "-al-", probably most commonly seen in "publically" vs. "publicly"—both spellings are considered correct/acceptable in American English, and both pronounced the same, in this dialect, rendering the "publically" spelling pleonastic in US English; in other dialects it is "required", while it is quite conceivable that in another generation or so of American English it will be "forbidden". This treatment of words ending in "-ic", "-ac", etc., is quite inconsistent in US English—compare "maniacally" or "forensically" with "eroticly" or "heroicly"; "forensicly" doesn't look "right" to any English speakers, but "erotically" doesn't look "right" to many Americans. Some (mostly US-based) prescriptive grammar pundits would say that the "-ly" not "-ally" form is "correct" in any case in which there is no "-ical" variant of the basic word, and vice versa; i.e. "maniacally", not "maniacly", is correct because "maniacal" is a word, while "agnosticly", not "agnostically", must be correct because "agnostical" is (arguably) not a real word. This logic is in doubt, since most if not all "-ical" constructions arguably are "real" words and most have certainly occurred more than once in "reputable" publications, and are also immediately understood by any educated reader of English even if they "look funny" to some, or do not appear in popular dictionaries. Additionally, there are numerous examples of words that have very widely-accepted extended forms that have skipped one or more intermediary forms, e.g. "disestablishmentarian" in the absence of "disestablishmentary". At any rate, while some US editors might consider "-ally" vs. "-ly" to be pleonastic in some cases, the vast majority of other English speakers would not, and many "-ally" words are not pleonastic to anyone, even in American English.[citation needed] In morpheme-based morphology, a morpheme is the smallest lingual unit that carries a semantic interpretation. ... In linguistics, prescription is the laying down or prescribing of normative rules of the language. ...


The most common definitely pleonastic morphological usage in English is "irregardless", which is very widely criticised as being a nonword. The standard usage is "regardless", which is already negative; adding the negative prefix ir- is worse than redundant, becoming oxymoronic as it logically reverses the meaning to "with regard to/for", which is certainly not what the speaker intended to convey. ("Irregardless" appears to derive from confusion between "regardless" and "irrespective", which have overlapping meanings.) Look up irregardless in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... -1...


Subtler redundancies

In some cases, the redundancy in meaning occurs at a syntactic level above the word, such as at the phrase level:

"It's déjà vu all over again."
"I never make predictions, especially about the future."

The redundancy of these two well-known statements is deliberate, for humorous effect. (See Yogiisms.) But one does hear educated people say "my predictions about the future of politics" for "my predictions about politics", which are equivalent in meaning. While predictions are necessarily about the future (at least in relation to the time the prediction was made), the nature of this future can be subtle (e.g., "I predict that he died a week ago"—the prediction is about future discovery or proof of the date of death, not about the death itself). Generally "the future" is assumed, making most constructions of this sort pleonastic. Yogi Berra's humorous quote above about not making predictions isn't really a pleonasm, but rather an ironic play on words. The term déjà vu (IPA: English , French ) (French for already seen, also called paramnesia from the Greek word para (παρα) for parallel and mnÄ“mÄ“ (μνήμη) for memory) describes the experience of feeling that one has witnessed or experienced a new situation previously. ... Look up Humour in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Yogi Berras number 8 was retired by the New York Yankees in 1972 Lawrence Peter Yogi Berra (born May 12, 1925 in St. ... Irony is a literary or rhetorical device, in which there is a gap or incongruity between what a speaker or a writer says and what is generally understood (either at the time, or in the later context of history). ... Literary technique; puns: word play Rock and Roll Band (1980s) : Play on Words (rock band) ...


Redundancy, and "useless" or "nonsensical" words (or phrases, or morphemes) can also be inherited by one language from the influence of another, and are not pleonasms in the more critical sense, but actual changes in grammatical construction considered to be required for "proper" usage in the language or dialect in question. Irish English, for example, is prone to a number of constructions that non-Irish speakers find strange and sometimes directly confusing or silly: Hiberno-English is the form of the English language used in Ireland. ...

"I'm after putting it on the table."
("I (have) put it on the table". This example further shows that the effect, whether pleonastic or only pseudo-pleonastic, can apply to words and word-parts, and multi-word phrases, given that the fullest rendition would be "I am after putting it on the table".)
"Have a look at your man there."
("Have a look at that man there"; an example of word substitution, rather than addition, that seems illogical outside of the dialect. This common possessive-seeming construction often confuses the non-Irish enough that they do not at first understand what is meant. Even "have a look at that man there" is arguably further doubly redundant, in that a shorter "look at that man" version would convey essentially the same meaning.)
"She's my wife so she is."
("She's my wife." Duplicate subject and verb, post-complement, used to emphasize a simple factual statement or assertion.)

All of these constructions originate from the application of Irish Gaelic grammatical rules to the English dialect spoken, in varying particular forms, throughout the island. Note: This page contains phonetic information presented in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) using Unicode. ...


Seemingly "useless" additions and substitutions must be contrasted with similar constructions that are used for stress, humor or other intentional purposes, such as:

"I abso-damned-lutely agree!"
(tmesis, for stress)
"Topless-shmopless—nudity doesn't distract me."
(shm-reduplication, for humor)

both of which are likely derived from Hebrew and Yiddish influences (respectively) on modern English, especially East Coast US English. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Shm-reduplication is a form of reduplication in which the original word (the base) is repeated with the second copy (the reduplicant) beginning with shm- (IPA [ʃm]). The construction is generally used to indicate irony or scepticism with respect to comments about the discussed object: -Hes just a baby... Regional definitions vary from source to source. ...


Sometimes editors and grammatical stylists will use "pleonasm" to describe simple wordiness. This phenomenon is also called prolixity or logorrhea. Compare: Prolixity (from Latin prolixus, extended) in language refers to speech or writing which uses an excess of words, synonymous with verbosity. ... Logorrhoea (US logorrhea) (Greek λογορροια, logorrhoia, word-flux) is defined as an excessive flow of words and, when used medically, refers to incoherent talkativeness that occurs in certain kinds of mental illness, such as mania. ...

  • "The sound of the loud music drowned out the sound of the burglary."
  • "The loud music drowned out the sound of the burglary."

or even:

  • "The music drowned out the burglary."

The reader or hearer does not have to be told that loud music has a sound, and in a newspaper headline or other abbreviated prose can even be counted upon to infer that "the burglary" is a proxy for "the sound of the burglary" and that the music necessarily must have been loud to drown it out. Many are critical of the excessively abbreviated constructions of "headline-itis" or "newsspeak", so "loud [music]" and "sound of the [burglary]" in the above example should probably not be properly regarded as pleonastic or otherwise genuinely redundant, but simply as informative and clarifying.


Prolixity is also used simply to obfuscate, confuse or euphemise, and is not necessarily redundant/pleonastic in such constructions, though it often is. "Post-traumatic stress disorder" (shellshock) and "pre-owned vehicle" (used car) are both tumid euphemisms but are not redundant. Redundant forms, however, are especially common in business, political and even academic language that is intended to sound impressive (or to be vague so as to make it hard to determine what is actually being promised, or otherwise misleading), For example: "This quarter, we are presently focusing with determination on an all-new, innovative integrated methodology and framework for rapid expansion of customer-oriented external programs designed and developed to bring the company's consumer-first paradigm into the marketplace as quickly as possible."


In contrast to redundancy, an oxymoron results when two seemingly contradictory words are adjoined.-1...


Other forms

Redundancies sometimes take the form of foreign words whose meaning is repeated in the context:

  • "We went to the 'Il Ristorante' restaurant."
  • "The La Brea tar pits are fascinating."

These sentences use phrases which mean, respectively, "the the restaurant restaurant", and "the the tar tar". However, many times these redundancies are necessary — especially when the foreign words make up a proper noun as opposed to a common one. For example, "We went to Il Ristorante" is acceptable provided your audience can infer that it is a restaurant (if they understand Italian and English it might likely, if spoken rather than written, be misinterpreted as a generic reference and not a proper noun, leading the hearer to ask "Which ristorante do you mean?" Such confusions are common in richly bi-lingual areas like Montreal or the American Southwest when people mix phrases from two languages at once). But avoiding the redundancy of the Spanish phrase in the second example would only leave you with an awkward alternative: "La Brea pits are fascinating." Nickname: Motto: Concordia Salus (well-being through harmony) Coordinates: , Country Province Founded 1642 Established 1832 Government  - Mayor Gérald Tremblay Area [1][2][3]  - City 365. ... The Southwest region of the United States is drier than the adjoining Midwest in weather; the population is less dense and, with strong Spanish-American and Native American components, more ethnically varied than neighboring areas. ...


Most find it best to not even drop articles when using proper nouns made from foreign languages:

  • "The movie is playing at the 'El Capitan' theater."

This is also similar to the treatment of definite and indefinite articles in titles of books, films, etc., where the article can — indeed "must" — be present where it would otherwise be "forbidden":

  • "Stephen King's 'The Shining' is scary."
    (Normally, the article would be left off following a possessive.)
  • "I'm having an 'An American Werewolf in London' movie night at my place."
    (Seemingly doubled article, which would be taken for a stutter or typographical error in other contexts.)

Some cross-linguistic redundancies, especially in placenames, occur because a word in one language became the title of a place in another (e.g. the Sahara Desert—"Sahara" is an English approximation of the word for "deserts" in Arabic). An extreme example is Torpenhow Hill in Cumbria, the name of which is composed of words that essentially mean "hill" in the language of each of the cultures that have lived in the area during recorded history, such that it could be translated as "Hillhillhill Hill". See the List of tautological place names for many more examples. Stuttering, also known as stammering in the United Kingdom, is a speech disorder in which the flow of speech is disrupted by involuntary repetitions and prolongations of sounds, syllables, words or phrases; and involuntary silent pauses or blocks in which the stutterer is unable to produce sounds. ... The Sahara is the worlds second largest desert (second to Antarctica), over 9,000,000 km² (3,500,000 mi²), located in northern Africa and is 2. ... Torpenhow Hill is a hill about 200 metres above sea level in Cumbria in north west England on the side of which the village of Torpenhow is situated, close to the A595 between Cockermouth and Carlisle. ... Cumbria (IPA: ), is a shire county in the extreme North West of England. ... A place name is tautological if two parts of it are synonymous. ...


Acronyms can also form the basis for redundancies; this is known humorously as RAS Syndrome (for Redundant Acronym Syndrome Syndrome): RAS syndrome (Redundant Acronym Syndrome syndrome) is a common tendency to use one of the words which make up an acronym or initialism as well as the abbreviation itself, thus in effect repeating that word. ...

  • "I forgot my PIN number for the ATM machine."
  • "I upgraded the RAM memory of my computer."
  • "She is infected with the HIV virus."

In all the examples listed above, the word after the acronym repeats a word represented in the acronym—respectively, "Personal Identification Number number", "Automated Teller Machine machine", "Random Access Memory memory", "Human Immunodeficiency Virus virus". (See RAS Syndrome for many more examples.) The expansion of an acronym like PIN or HIV may be well-known to English speakers, but the acronyms themselves have come to be treated as words, so little thought is given to what their expansion is (and "PIN" is also pronounced the same as the word "pin"; disambiguation is probably the source of "PIN number"; "SIN number" for "Social Insurance Number number" [sic] is a similar common phrase in Canada.) But redundant acronyms are more common with technical (e.g. computer) terms where well-informed speakers recognize the redundancy and consider it silly or ignorant, but mainstream users might not, since they may not be aware or certain of the full expansion of an acronym like "RAM". RAS syndrome (Redundant Acronym Syndrome syndrome) is a common tendency to use one of the words which make up an acronym or initialism as well as the abbreviation itself, thus in effect repeating that word. ...


Some redundancies are simply typographical. For instance, when a short inflexional word like "the" occurs at the end of a line, it is very common to accidentally repeat it at the beginning of the line, and large number of readers would not even notice it.


Carefully constructed expressions, especially in poetry and political language, but also some general usages in everyday speech, may appear to be redundant but are not. This is most common with cognate objects (a verb's object that is cognate with the verb): In linguistics, a cognate object is a verbs object that is cognate with the verb. ...

  • "She slept a deep sleep.

The words need not be etymologically related, but simply conceptually, to be considered an example of cognate object:

  • "We wept tears of joy."

Such constructions are not actually redundant (unlike "She slept a sleep" or "We wept tears") because the object's modifiers provide additional information. A rarer, more constructed form is polyptoton, the stylistic repetition of the same word or words derived from the same root: Polyptoton is a stylistic scheme, in which words derived from the same root are repeated (e. ...

As with cognate objects, these constructions are not redundant because the repeated words or derivatives cannot be removed without removing meaning or even destroying the sentence, though in most cases they could be replaced with non-related synonyms at the cost of style (e.g., compare "The only thing we have to fear is terror".) FDR redirects here. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Title page of Richard II, from the fifth quarto, published in 1615. ...


Semantic pleonasm and context

In many cases of semantic pleonasm, the status of a word as pleonastic depends on context. The relevant context can be as local as a neighboring word, or as global as the extent of a speaker's knowledge. In fact, many examples of redundant expressions aren't inherently redundant, but can be redundant if used one way, and aren't redundant if used another way. The "up" in "climb up" is not always redundant, as in the example "He climbed up and then fell down the mountain." Many other examples of pleonasm are redundant only if you take the speaker's knowledge into account. For example, most English speakers would agree that "tuna fish" is redundant because tuna is a kind of fish. However, given the knowledge that "tuna" can also refer a kind of edible prickly pear [2], the "fish" in "tuna fish" is no longer necessarily a pleonasm, but now disambiguates between the fish and the prickly pear. Conversely, to English speakers who know no Spanish, there is nothing redundant about "The La Brea tar pits" because the name "La Brea" is opaque: the speaker doesn't know that it's Spanish for "the tar". Similarly, even though scuba stands for "self-contained underwater breathing apparatus", a phrase like "the scuba gear" would probably not be considered pleonastic because "scuba" has been reanalyzed into English as a simple adjective. (Most do not even know that it is an acronym, and do not spell it SCUBA or S.C.U.B.A. See radar for another example.) Scuba diving is swimming underwater while using self-contained breathing equipment. ... This long range radar antenna, known as ALTAIR, is used to detect and track space objects in conjunction with ABM testing at the Ronald Reagan Test Site on the Kwajalein atoll. ...


See also

A double negative occurs when two forms of negation are used in the same sentence. ... Rhetoric (from Greek , rhêtôr, orator, teacher) is generally understood to be the art or technique of persuasion through the use of spoken language; however, this definition of rhetoric has expanded greatly since rhetoric emerged as a field of study in universities. ... In language, redundancy often takes the form of phrases which repeat a concept with a different word. ... In rhetoric, a tautology is an unnecessary (and usually unintentional) repetition of meaning, utilising different words, i. ... A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, often referred to simply as Fowlers Modern English Usage, or Fowler, is a style guide to British English usage, authored by Henry W. Fowler. ... Politics and the English Language (1946) is an essay by George Orwell wherein he criticizes ugly and inaccurate contemporary written English, and asserts that it was both a cause and an effect of foolish thinking and dishonest politics. ... Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903[1][2] – 21 January 1950), better known by the pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist. ... Elegant variation is a phrase coined by Henry W. Fowler to refer to the unnecessary use of synonyms. ... Prolixity (from Latin prolixus, extended) in language refers to speech or writing which uses an excess of words, synonymous with verbosity. ... A figure of speech, sometimes termed a rhetoric, or elocution, is a word or phrase that departs from straightforward, literal language. ... In linguistics, a cognate object is a verbs object that is cognate with the verb. ... This is an incomplete list, which may never be able to satisfy certain standards for completeness. ... A place name is tautological if two parts of it are synonymous. ...

References

  1. ^ Partridge, Eric (1995). Usage and Abusage: A Guide to Good English. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0393037614. 
  2. ^ Ong, Walter J. Orality and Literacy (New Accents), p. 38 ISBN 0-415-28129-6
  3. ^ McWhorter, John C. Doing Our Own Thing, p. 19. ISBN 1-59240-084-1
  • Smyth, Herbert Weir (1920). Greek Grammar. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, pp. 681–682. ISBN 0-674-36250-0. 

  Results from FactBites:
 
Pleonasm - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3002 words)
Pleonasm is the use of more words (or even word-parts) than necessary to express an idea clearly.
Often pleonasm is understood to mean a word or phrase which is useless, clichéd, or repetitive.
This is a good reason for careful speakers and writers to be aware of pleonasms, especially with cases such as "tuna fish", which is only normally used in some dialects of American English, and would sound strange in other variants of the language, and even more odd in translation into other languages.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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