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Figure of Speech help

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maggiesoupmaggiesoup Forumite
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Can anyone tell me if "so many fewer passengers" is a taughtology or an oxymoron?
Sorry, got too much time on our hands!

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  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    Well, it doesn't seem like an oxymoron. My favourite example is 'Military intelligence' - a contradiction in terms. 

    A tautology is using too many words, and I don't think it's one of them either. 

    I'm struggling to say what it is. There are fewer passengers, and the 'many' describes the degree of the reduction. 

    For example, there are many fewer passengers on our local trains, to the extent that I'm surprised they are still running a full service. If there were only a few fewer, then that would still be necessary. 
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  • PollycatPollycat Forumite
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    Personally, I'd say 'far fewer passengers'.
    Or 'a lot less passengers'.
    'so many fewer' just doesn't sound right to me.
    Like Savvy_Sue, I don't think either term you've given is correct.
  • maggiesoupmaggiesoup Forumite
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    Thanks for answers.  I'm afraid you'll have to take it up with Evan Davis on Radio 4.  We thought it sounded odd too !
  • PollycatPollycat Forumite
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    I've got a glass of chilled Pinot with my name on it that's far more important. :D
  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    Pollycat said:
    Personally, I'd say 'far fewer passengers'.
    Or 'a lot less passengers'.
    'so many fewer' just doesn't sound right to me.
    Like Savvy_Sue, I don't think either term you've given is correct.
    I agree there are situations where I'd say 'far fewer' but there are others where that just wouldn't sound right, eg in the example I gave, you could say 'far fewer passengers, to the extent that I'm surprised  ...' but you might also say 'there are so many fewer passengers, to the extent that I'm surprised ...' and you definitely can't say 'so far fewer' you have to say 'so many fewer'. 

    Just as long as no-one starts on Fronted Adverbials ...
    Still knitting!
    Completed: TWO adult cardigans, 3 baby jumpers, 3 shawls, 1 sweat band, 3 pairs baby bootees, 2 sets of handwarmers, 1 Wise Man Knitivity figure + 1 sheep, 2 pairs socks, 3 balaclavas, multiple hats and poppies, 3 peony flowers, 4 butterflies ...
    Current projects: pink balaclava (for myself), seaman's hat, about to start another cardigan!
  • SterlingtimesSterlingtimes Forumite
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    I found a technical explanation:
    Many is an adjective, while much is an adverb. As such, many cannot modify the adjective fewer; only an adverb can modify an adjective. Much fewer is simply more correct than many fewer, despite its cacophony. Many modifies a noun: many applesMuch modifies the adjective: much fewer apples or far fewer apples.
    https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/371335/much-many-fewer

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  • SterlingtimesSterlingtimes Forumite
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    I notice that younger people substitute "way" for "far". Even journalists who are adopting "way".
    Solar installed 21 November 2014 > Centre of England > 3,780 Wp > 14 *270 Watt Trina panels > 14 * Enphase micro-inverters > managed by Enlighten Envoy Hub > 19° west of south > 35° pitch > tree shading to east > iBoost > Wattson Anywhere monitoring > Schneider Electric (Drayton) MiGenie smart thermostat.
  • pollypennypollypenny Forumite
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    Tautology is repeating the same concept using different words. Eg. It was an enormous gigantic tree. 
    Member #14 of SKI-ers club

    Words, words, they're all we have to go by!.

    (Pity they are mangled by this autocorrect!)
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