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Pleonasm

 

Techniques > Use of language > Figures of speech > Pleonasm

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Pleonasm is the use of unnecessary words.

Example

Your future prediction is null and void.

The sound of the music is loud.

It's a puppy-dog, not a kitten-cat!

Discussion

The use of pleonastic words and phrases is very variable. Sometimes they become accepted jargon. Pleonasm may also indicate the use of tired, old and clichéd words and general sloppy language. Proponents of Plain English and concise writing are often strong opponents of pleonasm.

The simplest test of a pleonasm is when you can eliminate words without changing the meaning of the sentence.

Pleonasm may also lead to repetition of the same thing through different words.

Syntactic pleonasm occurs where grammar makes some words optional, such as 'I heard (that) you have been promoted.'

Semantic pleonasm is stylistic redundancy, and is often based on convention, such as 'up north' and 'free gift'. They can also be unique to dialects, such as 'tuna fish' in US English and 'by there' in Welsh.

'Pleon' is Greek for 'more than'.

Classification: Repetition

See also

Perissologia, Accumulatio

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