Tautology

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Tautology is the habit of saying the same thing more than once in slightly different ways. “Free gift” is a good example as a gift is something you don’t pay for. Breedon on the Hill in Leicestershire is more extreme as it literally means “Hill-hill on the Hill”. We all know that repetition creates emphasis, but repeated repetition, as it were, quickly becomes tiresome. It’s often done by people hoping to sound knowledgeable, but can have the opposite effect as the more someone goes on about something, the more desperate  they sound. In fact I’m getting ever closer to tautology myself, so here’s a real-world example before I get carried away: it’s that supremely irritating expression “going forward”. Whenever I see it used with the future tense as in “Going forward, we will have to develop a new strategy”, I cringe. Just remove those two words, and we have a perfectly clear sentence.

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