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University of Newcastle Library guides

Common feedback comments and what they mean: What is Tautology?

This guide lists some common feedback comments and explains what they mean.

What is tautology?

Tautology is expressing an idea, statement, or word that says the same thing twice, just in a different way. We often use tautologies without even thinking!

Example: They hiked to the summit at the top of the mountain.

In this sentence summit and top are tautological because they have similar meanings, so there is no need to use both words. The sentence could be written as:

They hiked to the summit.


They hiked to the top of the mountain.

Some common tautologies are:

  • new innovation
  •  evening sunset
  • frozen ice
  • over-exaggerates.
  • short summary.
  • predictions about the future.
  •  close proximity
  • 2 p.m. in the afternoon.
  • a necessary requirement
  • autobiography of his own life
  • joint cooperation
  • one after the other in succession...
  • return again for a second time
  • joint collaboration
  • first and foremost
  • very unique
  • unexpected surprises
  • today's modern technology