Hello and welcome to SESSION 2 of NewsPlus Editorial Conference. Have you done session 1 exercise? If you have, please share in the Comments Section at the bottom of this page so others may learn from you.

The topic for this session is Pleonasms.

Pleonasm, also known as Redundancy, is the (incorrect) use of more words than are sufficient or necessary to express an idea, information, opinion, etc. Depending on the context, however, pleonasms could be used for emphasis.

Common examples (The underlined words in the following examples are redundant or not necessary for the intended meaning to be conveyed):

  1. The bomb blast explosion shook the entire building. (Bombs are designed to explode and a blast is an explosion). The sentence could therefore be rendered in the following ways and still mean the same thing:
  • The blast shook the entire building.
  • The bomb shook the entire building.
  • The explosion shook the entire building.
  1. There was burning fire followed by smoke and black darkness (If it wasn’t burning then it was no fire. I’m yet to see white darkness. Have you seen one?)
  1. She entered the wet rain without an umbrella (Is there dry rain?)
  2. They gave us some free gifts. (If they are not free, they are no gifts)
  3. I saw it with my own eyes. (You should have seen it with Mugabe’s eyes)* This expression is commonly used for emphasis though.
  4. I do care about you. (Technically, do is redundant in this context but it can be used to emphasize that one truly cares.
  5. I’m not sure when PHCN will restore back our electricity.
  6. Please, return back the money you borrowed from me.
  7. I will revert back to you on your proposal.

(Return, restore and revert all convey the sense of bringing back or coming back. How does ‘Please, return bring back the money you borrowed from me’ sound?)

10. Driver, please reverse back. (My driver cannot reverse front. Can yours?)

A colleague of mine on the same beat years ago used to say, Please, keep one press statement for me should in case if I don’t return early.

This is an overkill of redundancy. Bombastic pleonasm, if you permit.

Should and if convey the same conditional sense of in case.

EITHER

Please, keep one press statement for me if I don’t return early.

OR

Please, keep one press statement for me should I not return early.

OR

Please, keep one press statement for me (just) in case I don’t return early.

Pleonasms are generally acceptable in poetry and music where they are deliberately employed to achieve rhyme and rhythm.

Exercise 2

Identify as many cases of pleonasm as you can and try to resolve them. Please, share on this platform.

Appeal: This is a discussion forum. Facilitators and participants should please contribute to enrich the discourse with diverse perspectives.

‘See’ you next time.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Excellent work Sir. The class has been a refreshing one. I like the idea of giving the correct version of sentences with redundant words. I suggest this is done for every case (example) and subsequent topics. In addition to the explanation, correct versions drive home the point and aids understanding. Many thanks again for the excellent work.

    • Thanks Sammy. You’re right; justifying the corrections helps to drive the point home. We’ll continue to do that as much as possible.

  2. The use of some of these redundant words by Nigerians, according to my wife, to an extent, shows how wasteful Nigerians are. I don’t know if she is on point, but it is waste of time and energy to use those words that are not actually necessary.

    • Glad you did. We don’t have to be too serious with these things,you know. I (do) miss your contributions at the real conference.

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