go upward to a higher level


Senior Member
This sentence: ''To order someone to go upward to a higher level.'' (From: send up)
I know what it means. But, there is something that upsets me about it, especially since its source is my favorite online dictionary.
Is it a tautology? Wouldn't ''... go upward'' be enough? Is ''to a higher level'' redundant here, given that they'd already said ''upward''?
Thanks in advance.
  • VicNicSor

    "Upward (to)" is a direction, "a higher level" is a destination.
    Besides, it is not a "sentence", but a definition; they try to explain the thing as easily as possible (I believe).
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    'To order someone to go upward to a higher level'' is a phrase, not a sentence. The phrase is not a tautology, because it means something. But it is redundant: "upward" has a similar meaning to "to a higher level".

    But it is just a similar meaning, not an identical one. It makes sense to put both in a dictionary definition. You copied this from a dictionary definition, not a dictionary sample sentence. It is not intended as a correct phrase to use in an English sentence.

    Here is why it is written this way:

    A reader who looks something up in a dictionary often tries to substitute the definition in the text they are reading. Some places where "send up" is used, "to a higher level" makes sense (a higher floor in a building). Other places, that makes no sense (there are no "levels") but "upward" makes sense (send up a flare to alert our allies). So the definition offers both.

    A more careful dictionary might put "or" in between: "go upward or to a higher level".

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I can see what you mean, Thaleshensilva, and I'd often prefer to go up to a higher level.

    To go upward doesn't suggest that you stop rising at any stage; to a higher level adds that detail of meaning.

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Higher level of what? An elevator or lift?
    One thing's sure: you can't go up/wards to a lower level.
    I think it's tautological but, 'go up' to a higher level is the sort of thing people say.To go upwards seems overkill.
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