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The word tautology comes from a word that means “the same,” which means you can think of it as words or phrases that mean or say the same thing. Think of tautology as words or parts of a sentence that do not add any information and could easily be removed from the sentence without deleting information from the sentence. Look at the following sentence
- I am very sorry for ruining your rug, and I apologize.
In the first half of the sentence, the speaker says he/she is sorry for ruining the rug. The speaker could end here; instead, the speaker adds the second half of the sentence where he/she apologizes. You see that the first half of the sentence is an apology (I am sorry); therefore, the second half of the sentence is just a repeat of the apology in different words. You could remove the second half of the sentence and the meaning would stay the same.
Tautology, or saying the same thing twice, can also occur with the repetition of words. These are words that are redundant or words that are unnecessary because they just repeat previous words. Look at this common phrase that uses tautology:
- That is just an over-exaggeration.
The tautological words here occur at “over-exaggeration.” The reason why is because the word exaggeration means an overstatement or describing something more or less than it is. An exaggeration is over-describing something, so to over-exaggerate is to repeat the meaning or exaggerate. The word “over” is unneeded.
Phrases we have are also tautological nature.
- Boys will be boys
- You’ve got to do what you got to do
- It is not over until it is over.
If you remove the ideas we get from these phrases and read them simply as phrases, then you can see that the phrases just repeat themselves. To say boys will be boys as a phrase is not to say they will get into trouble, but as a phrase, it just reads that young male children are, in fact, young children who are males. Look at these words to see tautology at work:
- Dry desert
- Frozen ice
- Late evening
- New innovation
- Widowed woman
- Wet rain
In some instances, tautology, or rephrasing or repeating words and phrases, can be used for emphasis or to stress the importance of something. In other cases, tautology can be used for humor or unintentionally. However, most people avoid tautology because it is unnecessary and seems silly.
This bundle contains 5 ready-to-use Tautology worksheets that are perfect to test student knowledge and understanding of Portmanteau which is blending of two words together to make a new word with its own special meaning.
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