I'm curious about whether the phrase "sit back down again" (along with anything similar, like "stand back up again") would be considered a tautology or if another term would be a better fit here. To clarify: I feel plenty confident in saying that it isn't a perfectly grammatical construction (both "sit back down" and "sit down again" are far better options), so my question is specifically regarding what label might fit best in this situation. Again, my educated guess is that it would be a tautology, but I figured I should hear other opinions to be sure!

Any and all help is much appreciated~~ ^^

EDIT: It looks like people are still coming across this post (judging from the two or three new replies), so I wanted to add an update. I eventually managed to work out on my own that what I was describing - the use of "to sit back down again" for "to reassume a seated position" - would most likely be a pleonasm. Regardless, thanks to everyone who gave their input~

  • Bear in mind that a tautology is not inherently "wrong".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 1:45
  • 2
    Your premise is faulty. There is nothing ungrammatical or necessarily redundant about the construction of your sentence. I sat down (I sat once), I sat back down (I sat twice), I sat back down again (I sat three times). Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 5:08
  • I sat - down back twice again. Here, why not 'down, back and twice' be considered a compound adverb? Shouldn't it be different from a similar usage but with verb, like "I smiled, spoke and smiled again" where it can be I smiled, I smoke and I smiled. Here, there are multiple verbs, unlike 'adverbs' in the example given.
    – Ram Pillai
    Commented Mar 23, 2020 at 1:22

1 Answer 1


It appears that in the context of grammar, that is indeed a correct use of the word tautology.

Tautology means to state an idea, then state the idea again using different words such as stating, “The autobiography I read was about the author’s life.” Tautology also describes a phrase or idiom in which the same idea is expressed twice using different words, such as the idiom jot or tittle. 1

Another example:

Sometimes a tautology involves just a few words that mean the same thing. Consider the following sentence:

I went to see him personally. 2

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