Essentially this means saying the same thing twice, also known as self-reinforcing statements. For example: ‘revert back’; ‘equally as good’; ‘an essential prerequisite’. If the repetition does not add to the meaning, this can seem clumsy. I often see variations of ‘very unique’. Unique is an absolute, thus the first word is redundant.
The same goes for ‘new innovation’, ‘added bonus’ and my least favourite of all, ‘she herself’. There are some tautologies that are ubiquitous: ‘free gift’, for example. The Oxford English dictionary defines ‘gift’ as ‘a thing given willingly to someone without payment.’ Thus ‘free’ is in the definition and so unnecessary.
Avoiding tautology will make your writing sharper and mark you out as the sort of writer that chooses their words carefully and constructs something accurate and original.
Have you noticed any tautologies lately? As always, I’d love to know what you think, and do please share if you found this useful!