Redundancies in writing are something that should be avoided to make the written piece more concise and easier to read. Having redundancies creep into the writing is at times inevitable. Therefore the writer should be very conscious about this aspect of writing. By sticking to the specific idea and providing more information instead of unnecessary words and phrases, you avoid clutter and fluff that do not contribute much to the crux of the material.
Here are some tips and examples on redundancies, so you can avoid them in your next article.
- Avoid using double negatives. This is a basic concept in writing. Although there are instances in which double negatives can be used, they are just used to highlight certain ideas or irony. Other than these instances, double negatives should be avoided as they are totally confusing. The sentence will also appear shorter when they are not used. These are created by combining a verb's negative form, such as “have not,” “did not” and “cannot” with a negative pronoun like “nobody” and “nothing;” a negative conjunction like “neither” and “nor” or a negative adverb like “hardly” and “never.” Sentences such as "I didn't see nothing," or "She is not unattractive" are examples of double negatives.
- Beware of pleonasm. This is usually the term used when referring to a phrase that repeats itself. For instance, you say “12 midnight” instead of just saying midnight. It is also the same when you say “3 a.m. in the morning” when “3 a.m.” would already suffice. Another example is, “I saw everything with my own eyes” when you can just say, “I saw everything.” It can also appear in a sentence. For instance, “I wrote an autobiography about my own life” when autobiography is already understood.
- Be careful when using abbreviations. For instance, people would say ATM machine when the M in ATM already stands for machine. Another example is CPU unit. CPU actually means Central Processing Unit. Finally, a common example is HIV virus. The V in HIV already stands for virus. Sometimes, it is easy to overlook this mistake since everyone is already used to it.
- Use intensifiers appropriately. Intensifiers include words such as severely, extremely and very, which are used to highlight something in a sentence, but in most cases, they are not needed.
- Be conscious of language origin. This could be another source of redundancy. For instance, the word anniversary came from the Latin word annum, which means year. Therefore, it is enough to say 25th anniversary. However, most people would say 25th year anniversary.
- Remove unnecessary phrases. This could make the sentence shorter but still retain its thought. Among these phrases are "As a matter of fact," "Due to the fact that," "As far as I’m concerned," "In the event that," "First and foremost," and many more.
- Always observe the "less is more" rule. Find a way to shorten a sentence without sacrificing the message that you want to convey. If you are trying to reach a certain word limit, then look for more important facts rather than unnecessary words that will just be viewed as fillers.
These are some of the most common tips to help you avoid redundancies. Keep them in mind so that you can make improvements on your next writing assignment.