Writers and Redundancies

As a writer, you’ve probably heard how important it is to write tight. This can be tricky considering most people use redundancies in their written and spoken words every day. Take a look at a few common redundancies and see if you recognize any of these.

Note: I’ll place the unnecessary words in bold so you’ll know what to remove.

Unexpected surprise: If the surprise is expected, it’s not really a surprise, is it?

Unintended mistake: If the mistake was intentional, it wasn’t really a mistake.

-Postpone until later: If you’re postponing something, you’re delaying it for a later time or date. Otherwise, you’re cancelling it.

-Repeat again: If you’re repeating something, you’re doing or saying it again, so again is redundant.

Free gift: Have you ever had to pay for a gift?

Invited guest: A guest is someone you invite either with a formal invitation or simply by allowing the person to enter.

False pretense: A pretense is a deception, so false is redundant.

Direct confrontation: As opposed to an indirect confrontation? How else can you confront someone, except directly?

Actual facts: If it’s a fact, it’s actual (real, authentic, etc.).

Armed gunman: If he’s a gunman, I’d expect him to be armed. Instead, use “armed man” or “gunman”.

-Drop down: You can’t exactly drop up.

-Exact same: If it’s the same, it would be exact. If not, it’s not the same but similar. In this case, either adjective would do but not together. So, you could say, “I have the same jacket.” Or, “I have that exact jacket.”

What are some of the redundancies you see or hear?

Lynnette Labelle

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2 Responses to Writers and Redundancies

  1. Graeme Ing says:

    Great list. One I had to train myself out of, and I think you first pointed it out to me, is:

    He stood up

    Yes you can stand down but that is a rare usage.

  2. Lynnette Labelle says:

    Graeme: Yes, there’s no reason to say “stood up”. It should be “stood”. Thanks for adding this.

    Lynnette Labelle

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