Unnecessary Redundancies

Since a previous post on My Favourite Oxymorons (and other “woo”) was so well-received, here’s one on redundant repetitions. (Thanks to some of my literate readers who answered with replies giving some of these exact same redundant pleonasms!)

What a busy day it has been! Two long tutoring sessions followed by company for dinner; it’s all like such an imaginary dream.

Because of her past history with forgetting to completely finish assignments, one of my students with ADD & ADHD and I cooperated together to determine what her normal everyday homework study schedule would be. This took a while, as she kept having sudden impulses to do things like verify the actual true ISBN number of the fiction book she was writing her essay report on. (At this point, I reminded her to back up everything (manuscript documents, photograph pictures and et cetera) from the classroom PC computers onto CD disks.) She’s also rather loquaciously verbose, and kept getting sidetracked by telling stories about her other classes. As part of her Bachelor’s degree, she needs a computer course, and she described with specific details how the instructor began to start with the basic fundamentals of BASIC code, which was a relief to her and her fellow colleagues, as the more advanced fundamentals would have been excessively too much.

Another of my students is an Asperger’s autistic who has a persistent obsession with predicting future changes to his regular routine. The resulting effect of all this is that he needs a safe sanctuary where he can go to relax and de-stress when there is an unexpected emergency. He is also concerned about the lab work and field trips related to his zoology class, such as having an unintentional accident with the sharp point of the scalpel blade, causing him to hemorrhage blood until he was killed dead. Even the zoo animals worry him; an asp snake might bite him with its fanged teeth full of poisonous venom, or he might possibly even fall down into the lagoon pond and drown to death. We had a long discussion about the probabilities of dire things actually happening, and what he could do to deal with such events.

After that it was time to try out my new money card at the student center. I read the instructions on the LCD display, and tapped my PIN number into the ATM machine and reached into the empty hole where the money should be, but apparently I had erred and had to enter the numbers over again. (I really need some rest and sleep.) Because the invited guests would be arriving immanently soon, I stopped by the giant supermarket to get some food & groceries, including ingredients for the shrimp scampi with spaghetti pasta.

Once I returned back home, it was time to get the appetizer ready, so after digging around the back of the cabinet, I found the voltage converter adapter, plugged my slow-cooker into the the AC current, and combined together the salsa sauce with some queso cheese, melting them together until everything was boiling hot. I was even able to add some fresh chives to the dinner; given the necessary essentials of fertilizer nutrients, my seedling plants in the hydroponic water-garden are growing larger every day. I’m also really excited about the innovative new cultivars I’m going to be trial testing in my outside yard.

The good news is that while I was cooking dinner, I heard on CNN news another news story about vaccination shots. The knowledgeable experts doubted what the live witness had to report because of the missing gaps in the testimony. The end result of today’s testimony was that the sum total of all this data information should prove beyond doubt that the medication drugs were not the causal reason for the successful achievement of academic schoolwork by the undergraduate students. The testimony should also allay concerns by fearfully paranoid parents who have been avoiding supposed cancer-causing carcinogens.

Just another industriously busy day web-log blogging.


  1. Alias Psuedonym said,

    13 August 2008 at 17:21

    ‘Fiction book’ is the only wrong one, I think. ‘Fiction novel’ would be redundant, but there are non-fiction books.

    Heh, ‘cancer-causing carcinogens.’

  2. Mike said,

    22 January 2008 at 19:03

    Oh, yaargh… That was just horrible. It’s like reading the local government press releases that thud daily into my inbox.

  3. qw88nb88 said,

    21 January 2008 at 22:21

    Okay, there are two sorts of redundancies:

    First is the type that the comments are referring to, where both words are synonymous for each other. In such cases, “relax and destress” would be redundant.

    “PC computer” is truly redundant, because PC stands for Personal Computer, so calling one a Personal Computer computer is redundant. PC in the vernacular is often used to refer to Windows-platform machines, but one could really run their Personal Computer on Mac or Linux operating systems.

    Second is the type where one word is a redundancy of the other — sometimes this is done as a clarification or for emphasis. “Asperger’s autistic” would be one of this sort, where “autistic” is redundant for “Asperger’s” but not vice-versa.

    Does that make things clearer?


  4. 21 January 2008 at 20:36

    Fab! I don’t agree that Bachelor’s degree is a tautology, though, as what happens if you need to differentiate between that and a Master’s degree? (But I disagree with most of Shiva’s disagreements. Sorry, Shiva. :D )

  5. shiva said,

    21 January 2008 at 14:52

    A few of these are IMO not complete tautologies:

    fiction book – not all fiction is books, there’s TV, film, theatre, etc…
    PC computers – well, there are other computers, such as Macs.
    sharp point – you can have a blunt point, or a sharp edge.
    giant supermarket – in the UK at least, there are a lot of small grocery shops that call themselves “supermarkets” – sometimes even grandiose titles like “International Supermarket” for what is essentially a corner shop. In everyday conversation “supermarket” means the big ones like Asda and Tesco tho.
    shrimp scampi – I don’t understand that one TBH. Scampi over here is a different animal from a shrimp – it’s a crustacean bigger than a shrimp but smaller than a lobster, usually served battered. I can’t really process “scampi” being used as any part of the name of a dish other than the name of the animal it’s made from…
    live witness – i presume that’s “live” as in “there on camera now”, rather than “live” as opposed to dead. Not a common UK usage tho…

    I think there’s a word for the thing where an acronym gets the word that its last letter stands for re-added to it after it becomes so common in usage that people forget what it means. I can’t remember what the word is tho…

    I like the word “pleonasm”. It sounds like it should mean some freaky, sci-fi medical thing…

  6. The Goldfish said,

    20 January 2008 at 11:48

    I have often thought this a trait of American English (together with turning every conceivable noun into a verb), but assumed that where a statement appeared to be tautologous, this was because of a nuance in definition. So for example, I might assume that in the phrase “homework study”, study meant something very specific, such as homework which was all reading and no writing (for example).

    For a lot of these phrases, I simply imagined that they meant something I didn’t quite understand!

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