Bravo to the folks at The Times.

This Christmas card created by the paper’s sub-editing team is now six months old, but it remains a powerful example of good editing.

Times christmas card

The team pulled together some of the best examples of tautologies they caught before they made it into the paper.

If you’re not sure what a tautology is, it’s when you say the same thing in different words within the same phrase.

So by definition, you are padding out your sentence with unnecessary words. For example, ‘our first priority is…’, or ‘it is absolutely essential that…’

It’s surprising how often tautologies creep into everyday speech, without us even noticing. Take a look at The Times Christmas card and it’s not hard to spot phrases that we’re all guilty of using.

 

Here’s some more of our favourites that we regularly come across in our work (God forbid we use them ourselves, of course!)

Unmet needs.

Surely if the needs were met, they wouldn’t be needs?

Exactly the same.

Or, you know, just… the same.

Necessary requirement.

As opposed to an unnecessary one?

New innovation.

All innovations are new. Otherwise they wouldn’t be innovations.

Duplicate copy.

“Please do me a duplicate copy of The Times’s Christmas card and staple it to my forehead.”

 

Early ammo for this year’s Christmas card perhaps?