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Eliminate those word redundancies

June 21, 2018 GMT

If one’s goal is to be as concise and clear as possible when writing — and who could argue with that? — then striving to eliminate redundancies is helpful and important.

Extra words that add nothing to a writer’s content are crying to be eliminated — redundancies like “close proximity” and “empty space.” But they’re so common that it is very tempting to use them. Much like I didn’t need to include “very” in the previous sentence.

In so many cases, there are extra words that are just taking up space. Eliminate them and you automatically tighten up your writing.

What follows is a list of examples of redundancies that should be avoided, with a few comments added along the way:

— absolutely essential

— actual facts. (I was tempted to say that there can’t be any other kind of facts, but in this era of fake news, who knows?)

— added bonus

— ATM machine.

— brief moment

— brief summary. (But why is it that many brief summaries are anything but?)

— classify into groups

— close proximity

— consensus of opinion

— emergency situation

— empty space

— filled to capacity. (If it’s filled, it’s filled.)

— general public

— heat up

— introduced a new

— introduced for the first time

— joint collaboration. (Of course, if the collaboration actually involves some sort of medical partnership pertaining to physical joints, then this would be OK.)

— look ahead to the future. (If you can find someone who looks ahead to the past, let me know. That would make for an interesting story.)

— major breakthrough (is there any other kind?)

— mutual cooperation

— natural instinct

— new beginning

— new recruit

— overused cliché (Clichés are, by definition, overused or they wouldn’t be clichés. Just like all adages are old or they wouldn’t be adages.)

— period of time

— personal friend

— PIN number. (Ever heard of a PIN made up of letters?)

— plan ahead

— reflect back (The same is true for “dates back.”)

— safe haven

— still remains

— sudden impulse

— temper tantrum

— unexpected surprise

— unintentional mistake

— very unique (Unique means one of a kind, so the word is improperly used if any kind of qualifier is used with it.)

So, go forth and write without redundancies.