BBC blooper

OUCH, can’t let this slide without having a go, sorry.

Noticed here, on none less than the BBC, a classic tautological blooper, in this explanation of what RSS feed is:

There are many different versions, some of which are accessed using a browser, and some of which are downloadable applications.

Many different versions – righto!

Incidentally, that second para of mine, the ‘tautological blooper’ bit, is that not tautology, I wonder? Does not ‘tautology’ imply a blooper, at least in contexts such?

Thoughts, anyone?

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5 Comments

  1. Kushal · August 18, 2009

    Many different versions.

    As opposed to two different versions, this may not actually be a blooper. Not like A new start.

  2. Chindu Sreedharan
    Chindu Sreedharan · August 18, 2009

    Would be clearer, then, to say ‘Two versions’, no? Or ‘Many versions’, if there is more than two…

  3. Kushal · August 18, 2009

    Cleaner, yes, but not terribly wrong.

  4. Kushal · August 18, 2009

    I mean, “many different versions” is not terribly wrong.

    Not arguing for the sake of it, but I think there’s also an element of rhythm in writing that sometimes is as important as tightness in copy.

  5. Chindu Sreedharan
    Chindu Sreedharan · August 19, 2009

    Kushal, not sure ‘many different’ is rhythmic though. But I agree in principle with what you are saying — interestingly, was having a backchannel discussion with another colleague, along the same lines. We were discussing if ‘tautological blooper’ is tautology — and here’s my argument (which sort of touches on the issues you raise as well — about rhythm):

    …tautology can be a rhetoric device, what we *could* call ‘acceptable tautology’. For instance, ‘I killed him with my own hands’…

    My point was, given that in ‘good’ writing we take care to avoid repetition, a tautological construction is an error in itself. So ‘blooper’ is actually redundant. But the word does add emphasis, red-flagging ‘tautology’ to the reader.

    Guess it is the same principle of writing-tight-but-not-too-tight, allowing your constructions to breathe — lest you come across as unnatural. At least, that’s my rationale…

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