Tautologies have been around for centuries and they have always had a bad press. The word tautology was used by the ancient Greeks (those wise souls) to refer to a statement that says the same thing twice. But if tautologies have been scoffed at for so many centuries, why do we keep using them?
The answer is simple. Deep down, even though we don’t want to admit it, we like tautologies. They’re like that familiar pair of slippers that we like to slip into every so often.
Without those friendly little tautologies, we’d have to monitor our language constantly so that we didn’t unnecessarily repeat ourselves in the same sentence. That wouldn’t be very fun, would it?
So, fellow writers, take a moment to remind yourself of these 10 tautologies. I guarantee you will have used at least one of these, at least once. (For every person who reads this article, 1 penny will be donated to the Tautology Appreciation Society*. So tell your friends!)
1. It is what it is…
This phrase is usually used after someone has finished telling a difficult story, and doesn’t know what else to say.
It’s called “compulsive ink drinking disorder”. Every time I see a pen, I can’t help drinking its ink. I’ve had to remove all pens from my house.
Gosh that must be very difficult
Well, it is what it is.
Yes I suppose it is.
2. Boys will be boys…
This phrase can be used to excuse rude or inappropriate behaviour of males towards females.
Sir! Sam Samson has been calling me names.
Look Jane, boys will be boys. Now run along and play.
Would you care to elaborate on that vacuous statement, sir?
Don’t be so insolent Jane! Detention!
You want to send me to Detention for that?
No, Detention is the name of my dog. Detention! Here boy!
3. Whatever will be, will be…
This phrase was made popular by the song by the same name, originally sung by Doris Day. I’m not sure how to interpret the meaning of this song. Here’s one possibility:
Mum, what will happen when I grow up? Will I be a success?
Well, Jane, your life might turn to sh** when you grow up. You might find true love, and then he cheats on you, leaves you for this other woman, and breaks up with you via a text. But it’s best not to think about it. Whatever will happen will happen and there’s sh** all you can do about it.
4. Significant milestone
Milestones tend to be significant. I wonder what an insignificant milestone would look like? It might be a milestone with self-esteem issues; a milestone that perceives itself as insignificant, but does, in fact, play a vital role in the lives of its fellow milestones.
5. Forward planning
Have you ever tried planning backwards? Planning backwards will make you feel very productive, as you end up planning to do things that you’ve already done. For example, today I backward planned to write an email that I wrote yesterday. Now I can check that off my check-list and feel quite pleased with myself for having completed this task.
6. Bits and pieces
A bit is a piece by another name. I know this yet “Bits and Pieces” is a phrase that I often deploy. In fact, one of the categories on this blog is called “Bits and Pieces”. I like the phrase. It has a child-like simplicity that appeals to me.
7. The vast majority
This is a phrase I’ve used several times.
…the vast majority said that they had never heard of the “Tautology Appreciation Society”. We would have interviewed the tiny majority, but we couldn’t find him. The dog may have swallowed him…
8. Very unique
Uniqueness comes in degrees. Some things are “tremendously one-of-a-kind”, while others are only “slightly one-of-a-kind”, and a few are “borderline one-of-a-kind”.
9. That’s all well and good
Phew…that’s a relief.
10. Deliberately targeted
MAN UNINTENTIONALLY TARGETED AFTER ACCIDENTALLY SUPER-GLUING TARGET TO HIS BACK.
Man was subjected to repeated dart-attacks whilst walking dog, on Wednesday morning. One Dart thrower claimed to have been under the influence of an overwhelming compulsion.
“I felt my hand moving down to my pocket where I keep my spare collection of darts, and well…you know the rest”
The final end
Here ends our tautologous adventure. I hope you have enjoyed the pleasurable fun of this itemized list. If you can think of any other tautologies that you have known and loved, please do get in touch. Have a tautologous day, my friendly friends.
*Tautology Appreciation Society may not exist*