"What other games do you play aside from Tetris?"

In this sentence, other means any game except the one mentioned (Tetris). Similarly, aside from means any game other than Tetris. If I omit the other, the meaning doesn't seem to change.

Does this mean that having both words in such a structure is redundant? If yes, then why are these sentences very common and why haven't I seen anyone point out this mistake?

  • Are you sure it wasn't, "What other games do you play, aside from Tetris?" – David Schwartz Jun 20 '16 at 18:01

Is it redundant - yes.

Is it "wrong" - no.

We often use phrasing that is redundant for the purpose of emphasis.

What other games do you play aside from Tetris?

It's also likely that the speaker/writer wants to emphasize the "otherness" of the games. Perhaps the original intent was to say "What other games do you play?" and the remainder of the sentence was added for clarity.

What other games do you play... aside from Tetris?

Would it be OK without "other? - Yes.

What games do you play aside from/other than Tetris?

| improve this answer | |
  • 5
    In spoken context, the "other" might also prepare the listener. If I am an avid Tetris player, and your question begins with, "What games do you play..." then I immediately think, "Tetris." If you start with, "What other games do you play..." then I wait until I hear the "besides" part. – J.R. Jun 20 '16 at 15:18
  • 2
    Reminds me of the joke: "How many incompetents are there at your company, besides you?" "Hey, you don't have to be insulting!" "Oh, I'm sorry. So how many incompetents are there at your company, including you?" – Jay Jun 20 '16 at 19:15
  • Also the fact that most people can only store 5-6 items in short term memory, so the average listener would focus on the phrase "what other games do you play?". – Benito Ciaro Jun 20 '16 at 21:09
  • it is reasonably well known fact that short-time memory size is about 7 +/- 2 – Peter M. - stands for Monica Jun 20 '16 at 21:15

They are both right, but the meaning is different.

If you ask "What games do you play aside from Tetris?", the question implies that you already know I play Tetris, and also that I play other games. If I answer "none", I am contradicting the assumption that is in your question.

Asking "What other games do you play..." only implies that you know I play Tetris. If I answer "none", I am giving you information, but I'm not contradicting anything that you have already said.

Questions like "What games do you play aside from Tetris?", where the question implies part of the answer, are called leading questions. This is a fairly innocuous example of a leading question, but some situations (e.g. in a law court) asking leading questions is not permitted - the standard example of such a question being "When did you stop beating your wife".

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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