Quentin’s beef

He has a strange name. He should be a diarist* with a name like that. He is? Oh, sorry, Q. Anyway, he rang a few of my bells with his thoughts in today’s DM.


I’d add a common pleonasm people employ,as follows: ‘They both attended the same school.’ Just one will do, dear.

I bet my reader seethes over a few common malapropisms too.

* Didn’t you have a Letts diary as a youngster?

Author: janus

I'm back......and front - in sunny Sussex-by-the-sea

14 thoughts on “Quentin’s beef”

  1. Hmm! You may say pleonasm, but I would prefer tautology.

    Many of the examples given in the referenced article are valid in other dialects of English. And let’s not forget how languages change and grow all the time. After all, how’s your Chaucerian? 😎

  2. One thing that annoys me is when the crew on a plane “kindly ask passengers to remain in their seats”. No, you ask people to kindly do this or that.

  3. Mīn wandrian-scyf ful ǣlen is = My hovercraft is full of eels. (according to google)

    Re. “…..“kindly ask passengers to remain in their seats”. No, you ask people to kindly do this or that…….”

    I think we used to say “please remain in your seats with your seatbelts fastened until…………..” No kindly about it.

    It’s too late now but I would love to have learnt to do an Old English pre flight briefing to the pax prefaced by “For the benefit of any Anglo Saxons on board “.

  4. Bearsy. as you know, I’m not a pedant, but pleonasms are not necessarily tautologies or vice versa, as a nifty Venn diagram would show. 🙂

    A tautology is a expression that is true by necessity or by virtue of its own form, e.g., “That fire is fire.” Logically speaking a tautology is equivalent to “A equals A”.

    A pleonasm is an expression that uses more words than are necessary for clear expression, e.g. “That burning fire is hot.” The word ‘burning’ is an unnecessary modifier for ‘fire’ because all fire is burning, thus ‘burning fire’ is pleonastic.

  5. “Good evening. A gin and tonic, please.” “Are you a guest in the hotel, Sir?” “Unfortunately not, young whippersnapper. I’m paying €180 for one of your employer’s rooms tonight and I expect I’ll be charged for the G&T too. ”

    Only a few minutes ago, the BBC’s autocue reader on the Ten O’Clock News said that the poisoned Russian spy Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, “…are still critical in hospital.” Critical of what, exactly, one wonders. NHS food? Putin? Critical of still being critically ill in hospital?


  6. G’day Janus –

    It’s a brave Arts graduate who throws a Venn diagram at an engineer! I’m moderately surprised that you can even spell it. 😎

    There are quite a few definitions and comparisons of tautology and pleonasms on the web, some of which I like, and some I don’t. Remember our chats about proscriptive and descriptive grammar? Something of the same applies here. But no matter. My ancient and respected school would not have approved of the pleonasm, so I shall remain steadfast with my preference for tautology. Or in Strine – up yours!

    I thank those who have quoted Anglo Saxon, but Chaucer was about 800 years later and he’s easier to understand, particularly if read in a north country accent.

    . . . and thanks for your examples OZ – luv ’em!

  7. Hi Bearsy

    When you wrote ‘proscriptive and descriptive grammar’, did you, by any chance, intend to write ‘prescriptive and descriptive grammar’?

    I’m not a pedant either. Honest!

  8. G’day JM,

    Oh dear, mea culpa, I did intend to type an ‘e’ rather than an ‘o’, and what’s more I read it through twice before hitting the publish button. Thanks for picking it up – it’s just as well I didn’t spell ‘grammar’ incorrectly, too. 😢

  9. Bearsy , should I deduce that your alma mater went in for tautology then? Same old, same old.

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