Monday, December 3, 2007

Tautologies and RAS syndrome

Are we afflicted with RAS? What is it you may well ask?

RAS syndrome is, as Wikipedia explains, a repetition of one of the words making up an acronym. The most common uses are ATM machine, HIV virus and PIN number.

Wikipedia says the Redundant Acronym Syndrome syndrome, “is itself a humorous example of a redundant acronym”.

Which brings me to tautologies. For those who don’t know what a rhetorical tautology is, let’s ask Wikipedia again. It says it is the unnecessary and often unintentional repetitive use of words or meanings that, in effect, mean exactly the same thing. Exactly is the same. So, I need only have written their meaning is exact or their meaning is the same. To use both was a redundant use of words. A free gift, is another example. Though sometimes it is written to emphasize that the gift has no expectations with it, as opposed to say, a gift with purchase.

As I see this happening in many of the critiques I’m doing at the moment, I thought I would write about it here. Forgive me, crit partners, but I will mention a few, to give you an idea of how easily they can sneak in to our manuscripts.

He hesitated answering a moment.

I sucked it up, taking a deep breath.

At a loss for words, I said nothing.

Do you have any questions, class?

LOL Annie


Chicki said...

I think that "at a loss" one was mine. LOL!

This is a good example of why we need critique partners. We can't see our own bloopers even when we read our work over ten times!

Patricia also wrote about critiquing over on her blog:

Suzanne Brandyn said...

Hi Annie,
Great piece on tautologies. It's amazing how we cannot see those mistakes. It doesn't matter how much we try.