Consider the following sentence:

Often passages will present information about the topic from more than one perspective or point of view.

Are "perspective" and "point of view" of the same meaning? If they are, why do people say both of them at the same time instead of either one?


Point of view is more typically a spot or location that "sees" — like a camera or eye. A perspective would describe the way something sees — like a colored lens or infrared.

The terms get pretty interchangeable, though; I suspect most people use both for emphasis.

  • What is emphasized then? – Jack Jul 14 '11 at 1:59
  • @Jack: The differences between one perspective/point of view and more than one. It would be like saying, "I like big, large trucks." You could just use big or large, but saying them both makes the truck sound bigger and larger. – MrHen Jul 14 '11 at 2:02

To all intents and purposes, perspective and point of view are synonyms in OP's sentence - just as intents and purposes are in this one.

It's just a style of writing that doesn't add any core meaning, but many of us do it quite often for various reasons. Ignoring pointless waffle and writers paid by the word trying to increase their income, there are two main reasons.

In some cases, the 'repetition' is intended to amplify or underline. In mine, to convey that I definitely meant all intents and purposes (plus I just wanted an example).

OP's example seems to be didactic (it's part of a 'teaching' text). The repetition here is probably because the writer is concerned in case his audience aren't familiar with the somewhat metaphoric use of 'perspective'. Adding or point of view simply defines the preceding term to make sure there's no misunderstanding, and perhaps it may teach a new usage.

  • Well, I could always call it a 'sylistic device' if you think I cast my net too wide there. Or a 'technique'. – FumbleFingers Jul 14 '11 at 2:51
  • Could it be an attempt to give weight to a statement by expressing an idea in two ways. Just as the law tends to combine Norman French and Anglo-Saxon in phrases like Will and Testament or Without let or hindrance – pavium Jul 14 '11 at 6:57
  • @pavium: Yes, it could be. I think you're implying not just 'emphasis of actual meaning', but that it also adds a touch of gravitas/authority to the whole text. But in the end that's a form of emphasis, so I think I've covered both basic reasons for such repetition in my answer. Of which I still think the didactic element is predominant in this case, but I might rephrase to include your point too. – FumbleFingers Jul 14 '11 at 13:10

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