Suppose someone makes statements like these:

I like tasty food.

I like beautiful pictures.

I like well-written dramas / novels / articles / et cetera.

I like good music.

As you see all those adjectives say something positive, yet entirely subjective, about the nouns the person likes. You might even say the adjectives are redundant, for example nobody likes food that's not tasty, but it depends on the person what type of food they'd call tasty.

Is there a term for this type of statement? An example sentence:

These statements are ____, you should avoid them on your writing exams!

I found this question where the adjectives describe a property that's already implied by the noun (a pleonasm). That's not the case here because you can say: "that food is very tasty", which isn't a pleonasm, nor is it otherwise redundant.

Although when describing what you like by saying: "I like tasty food" it comes across as saying "I like food that I find tasty", in which the "that I find tasty" part is already implied by the "I like" part.

After reading the Wikipedia page on pleonasms, I think my examples are pleonasms because the adjectives in bold are redundant in the context of the sentence. I am, however, looking for a more specific word (or subclass of pleonasms for that matter), it should at least imply that it's a pleonasm in the specific context (and not generally). A bonus would be if the term is specific to the verb adjective combination.

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

  • But people can and do like things they consider bad :P. See So Bad It's Good. – Laurel Mar 28 '18 at 22:51
  • Redundant, pleonasm, tautology, and redundant – Mitch Mar 29 '18 at 12:26
  • @Mari-LouA fixed it, seems the auto-correct on my phone wanted to ask its own question.. – JJJ Mar 29 '18 at 12:55
  • @Mitch yes redundant and pleonasm are both terms that fit my question (and the sentence), they are, however, not as specific as I'd like them to be. As I added in the last paragraph, the answer should at least encapsulate that the combination of words is only redundant in the context of the entire sentence. In my first example tasty food in itself is not redundant, it becomes redundant because of the preceding I like, because if you like some food that means you find it tasty (but others may disagree). – JJJ Mar 29 '18 at 12:59
  • You're saying that 'like' and 'good' are (arguably) logically redundant. "J'aime la bonne musique.", "Ich mag gute Musik.", "我喜欢好音乐。" Pretty universal. Nothing special about English. The English word to describe the situation is 'redundant'. If it is more than that, then you are asking for a philosophical explanation of exactly in what way it is redundant and there are lots of arguments for why or why not a particular nuance on pleonasm or redundancy would fit the situation you're describing. In the links I gave from ELU there's lots of commentary that would help you. – Mitch Mar 29 '18 at 13:27

I might call them "tautologies" or "truisms" or, to use an adjective, "self-evident".



We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

  • 1
    The sole question was "Is there a term for this type of statement?" I gave a couple of replies that squarely answered that question. They were answers, complete answers, so I don't understand why you think it would be necessary to tack on a hundred extra words just so my answer looks long. I provided two citations of dictionary definitions backing up that these were correct answers and explaining why I had offered them, so I really don't know what you think was deficient about my response. It's almost as though you didn't read it. – Green Grasso Holm Mar 29 '18 at 2:28
  • 1
    I just realized that the comment I responded to isn't even signed--does that mean it was actually left by a bot, triggered only by the brevity of my response, and without any idea what I'd actually written? Would that be the reason why it seems to be someone off-point in the context of my answer? – Green Grasso Holm Mar 29 '18 at 2:34
  • I think it's because of the question protection. – JJJ May 20 '18 at 20:46

protected by tchrist Mar 28 '18 at 23:54

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

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