Is it? For example:

The lack of natural resources engendered the creation of a complex religion in Mesopotamia.

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    "Engendered" doesn't mean "create", specifically; it means "cause". So the question is whether you find "The lack of natural resources caused the creation of a ...". And if so, what other verbs you'd find redundant (do find "engendered the fall of Rome" problematic, for example?). – Dan Bron Aug 23 '14 at 14:40
  • Sorry, I missed out a word above: "whether you find 'caused the creation of' redundant?". That said, it's also fair to observe that "engendered" could be used alone (in its "gave rise to" sense), so the "cause" isn't strictly required, either. I guess the bottom line is: you could take it or leave it. – Dan Bron Aug 23 '14 at 15:37
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    'Create' is given in the lists of 'synonyms' for 'engender' at M-W and Google Dictionary. Whether or not this means that they are redundant when used together as here is probably a debate that would go on for a long time. What I'd do here is use 'encouraged the development', which is possibly more accurate anyway. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 23 '14 at 19:01

It certainly isn't completely redundant. I don't think it would be accurate to say:

"The lack of natural resources created a complex religion in Mesopotamia."

This implies that the religion was created by the circumstance, when in reality the circumstances caused people to create the religion.

"The lack of natural resources engendered a complex religion in Mesopotamia."

This is probably more accurate; if something engenders a movement that elicits a result then it is probably usually accurate to say that the initial impetus engendered the end result.

I think your sentence is fine as is, treating any of the words as redundant leaves us with statements that are either inaccurate or less comprehensive.


Use the short word rather than the long one. 'The lack of natural resources helped create a complex religion in Mesopotamia'.

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    Engender is a much more precise word and it fits the context. There is no need to resort to a less precise (and semantically less apt) word when you already have a perfectly good one. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 9 '14 at 18:32

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