Tautology: When It Is Okay to Use It and How to Avoid It

If you are familiar with the word tautology, we will take it that you use grammar checkers like Grammarly to proofread your essays before submitting them. This may also mean something else: that something needs to be corrected.

Another word for tautology in literary work means saying the same thing in two different words. It is using synonyms together. Tautology comes in many forms. It may appear as an adjective or double adjective, adverb, conjunction, or even a noun.

Tautology adds unnecessary words to writing and should be corrected by deleting one of the words. While tautology is considered to add no substance to your writing, it is used strategically by authors as a literary device. 

When Is It Okay to Use Tautology?

Here are the instances when you are allowed to use tautology in your literary work:

To Create Ambiguity to Make the Readers Think About a Topic

Tautology is used by WritePaper writers and other professional authors to introduce ambiguity. Using tautology in your paper can, therefore, bring about some excitement. It challenges the reader to think and makes them feel like they are solving a puzzle. 

If you are concluding an essay where the reader is supposed to build their opinion of a subject, you can throw in tautology. This can be a creative way to summarize and conclude your essay. It is, however, vital to note that ambiguity is not attractive in all cases. Most readers might find it unpleasant, and you should, therefore, be smart about its positioning. 

Use tautology if you are intentional about the reader uncovering deeper meanings for themselves and to create mystery.

To Introduce Satire

Tautology is also considered as burlesque, a literary style that adds drama to writing and creates comic satire. It is used to ridicule or mock a subject or work. Apart from bringing about entertainment to literary work, it can be useful in drawing attention to issues that are affecting society. 

Tautology is an excellent tool for critiquing social dilemmas and issues. You can use tautology to mock a subject in satirical essays that talk about politics, culture, and history. 

Use Tautology as a Poetic Tool

Authors use tautology as a poetic license. This is mainly because it is featured by repetition, which is a commonly used tool in poetry. 

How to Avoid Tautology

Unless you are strategically and intentionally using tautology, you should avoid it. It can weigh down the quality of your paper by making it unreadable. To make the readers’ experience seamless:

1. Be Keen When Using Abbreviations

Tautology is often manifested when people use abbreviations such as ATM machine and CPU unit. The writer is repeating the same thing. ATM has the machine in it, and CPU has the unit in it too. 

The best solution to this is to be watchful when using abbreviations and remember that some of the words you intend to use have already been mentioned, just in a different format.

2. Proofread Your Work

Sometimes you just may be in a hurry, and you might end up using double adjectives, nouns, or adverbs. Failure to read through your work will only mean that you will submit it as it is. By proofreading, you will spot tautology in your paper and delete it. Sometimes avoiding tautology is as simple as going through the work and correcting the errors. 

If you are not sure if it is a tautology, you can remove one word and reread the sentence to see if it still makes sense. 

3. Boost Your Vocabulary

Sometimes we use tautology because we are not sure of what certain words mean. To avoid this, make the dictionary your friend. Confirm the meaning of a word before you write it. This should, however, not stop here, be willing to learn new vocabulary. Show interest in words you are not familiar with when reading to maintain an active vocabulary.

One of the best ways to avoid tautology is by being familiar with the most vocabulary, and there is no shortcut to it. 

4. Change the Tautology

Let’s face it; sometimes, we just need to have more words in our writing. However, a tautology is not the answer, as most people would choose to ignore the alerts on grammar checkers just to maintain the word count. 

A better way around this is changing the phrase. The latter can be used to explain what the first phrase means. 

Tautology also manifests not only when you use words that mean the same thing but also phrases that imply the same thing. This is worth looking at to ensure that your content does not have a repetition of meanings. 

Take Away

While tautology is often condemned, it is not entirely forbidden. It can be used as a literary tool, but you need to be intentional about it. It can make your work entertaining, help you emphasize specific topics or subjects, or bring about a poetic feel to your work. 

Unless you are using it as a writing tool, it should be avoided as it affects your work’s readability. Proofread your work before you send it to the reader, have an active vocabulary, and be careful when using abbreviations.