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World of Words
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If you see with your eyes, speak with words, or eat tuna fish in a safe haven, then maybe it's possible you're indulging in pleonasms.

What's a pleonasm? A pleonasm is when you use more words than are necessary for clear expression. For example, you don't usually need to specify that you're using your eyes to see, or words to speak. We all know that a tuna is a fish without being told, and havens are - by definition - safe. Furthermore, maybe and possible carry the same meaning, so one of them could be left out.

To use another pleonasm, a pleonasm is a repetitive redundancy.

Pleonasms crop up all over the place, and usually we don't even notice them. We all have seen terms and conditions, or have heard that something was declared null and void.

Every time you open a Bible and read from the book of Psalms or Proverbs, you are reading a form of pleonasm, since ancient Hebrew poetry was often written in couplets that have a "rhymed" meaning. For example (from Psalm 2):

He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.

The pleonasm is used here either to refine or to emphasize a particular meaning. Obviously, this is not always a bad thing. Authors, teachers, preachers, and other communicators may use pleonasms for dramatic effect or to drive a point home. In fact, if we completely remove pleonasms from our speech and writing, what is left can sometimes feel stilted and unnatural.

Speaking of "stilted" and "unnatural," those words are synonyms; did you notice that pleonasm?

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