By my current understanding of the two words, the sentence:

The preciseness of this precision is very definite

is grammatically correct. Correct me if I'm wrong, and if so; what is the distinction between the two words?

OED definition of preciseness:

Exactness, accuracy; definiteness; minuteness.

OED definition of precision:

a. An instance of exactness or preciseness; a particular, nicety, minute detail, esp. of language.

b. The fact, condition, or quality of being precise; exactness, accuracy.

Also, what is the word for the situation in which this can occur? (I want to say it's the opposite of an oxymoron?)

  • Related:english.stackexchange.com/questions/74858/… – user66974 Sep 5 '14 at 7:11
  • The sentence is grammatically correct, but so is "colorless green ideas sleep furiously". I'd say the sentence is clumsy and redundant (not quite a tautology, which would be the opposite of oxymoron). I would prefer to say "the precision is well known". – Dan Bron Sep 5 '14 at 17:13
  • The overlap between the two words is very great indeed—especially as between the "exactness, accuracy" meaning of preciseness and the definition b ("The fact, condition, or quality of being precise; exactness, accuracy") meaning of precision. In fact, in those overlapping senses (it seems to me) the two words are interchangeable. – Sven Yargs Feb 28 '17 at 7:02

I think the words are largely equivalent, but because precision itself could be measured as to 'how precise' it is, the speaker may have chosen another form to avoid cacophony, somewhat similar perhaps to the following example:

"You already had two helpings of dinner, don't take two desserts also." (rather than "two desserts too")

I think a better overall form for the original sentence could be:

"The precision level is well-defined."

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.