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Someone told me that I shouldn't use the phrase discuss about, but should say, instead, discuss (the topic).

He said discuss means talk about and using discuss about is like saying talk about about, which is redundant.

Is he correct? Could somebody elaborate on this?

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    @Susan Well answered below. I further edited simply to remove the redundant double negative. – WS2 Jan 19 '14 at 7:36
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Your friend is correct. You can discuss something, or you can talk about it, but discuss about is redundant for the reason you identified.

discuss: to speak with another or others about

But if you want to use the word about, you can have a conversation about, confer about, debate about, or even have a powwow about.

Most of the other synonyms for discuss don't take about, nor is it needed to converse (or debate).

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    +1, although I would really prefer debate x, rather than debate about x. – Cerberus Jan 19 '14 at 7:38
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    I just saw this expression "discuss about" in a reputable online publication, attributed to an editor of a scientific journal: "A paper on field theory delivers a wake-up call to academics" physicstoday.scitation.org/do/10.1063/PT.6.2.20170803a/full Quote: “In a scientific paper we discuss about science, not about life.” So it is not so clear cut as you seem to present... – mathreader Aug 23 '17 at 1:44
  • @mathreader - This is what I can offer, and all I can offer: I was a Molecular Biologist, then a physician. I have read hundreds of scientific papers, and I was an avid reader of all kinds of literature until recently. If I saw that ("we discuss about science, not about life"), I would think someone's editor was asleep on the job. Just because you spot an error in a publication doesn't make the error correct. – anongoodnurse Aug 23 '17 at 3:12
  • @mathreader The statement should read, “In a scientific paper we have discussions about science, not about life.” Or, "...discuss science, not life." Or, even, more accurately, "...we write about science, not life." This is what I can offer. I have read hundreds of scientific papers, and I was an avid reader until recently. If I saw that ("we discuss about science, not about life"), I would think someone's editor was asleep on the job. If you spot an error in a publication, that doesn't make the error "correct". – anongoodnurse Sep 5 '18 at 19:39
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I agree with your friend. It is redundant to write "discuss about." The definition of "discuss" is "talk about;" so, when you write "discuss about," substituting the definition of "discuss," you're saying "talk about about." Other than redundancy consider this; the 1st use of "about" is an adverb which is how I think you are using it, and as such it could be used to modify the verb "discuss," but "about" used as an adverb means "almost" or "nearly." Think about it; are you "almost" or "nearly" discussing something?

An alternative use of "about" is as a preposition. If to write or to say ". . . discuss the . . . " as your friend suggests is uncomfortable for you i.e. it doesn't roll off the tongue as if something is missing, you might want to use the noun form of the word "discuss," and reconstruct your sentence to read " . . . discussion on the. . . " or ". . . discussion about the . . . " where the prepositional phrase beginning with "on" or "about" offers you the chance to describe topic of the discussion [and is easier on your tongue and ears.]

There are two sources I consult want when I'm not sure of something. They are merriam-webster.com and dictionary.com which offers a free app for your Phone or Pad and a very moderately priced version without advertisements. In both; the free versions cover most of the grammar/spelling questions most of us have.

I hope I've helped.

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