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From Anne R. Allen’s Blog… with Ruth Harris:
there. How are you today? Are you ready to test out your redundancy eye?
You might ask, “Why should I care about redundancies?”
Before we begin, I’ll answer that question.
Redundancies are superfluous words
or phrases also known as pleonasms: the use of more words than are necessary to express an idea.
Pleonasm is an unfamiliar term to some people, which is why I and other writers often refer to unnecessary words as redundancies.
Rather than augment writing, these
extra words slow down action scenes and increase word count — without adding helpful details.
Did you notice the strikeouts in the previous paragraphs? Each strikeout represents a redundancy. If I were intentionally bloating this post, I might leave them in. However, they’re just
I guess I did leave them in, and that means they still count as words. Oops, sorry, Anne, I needed them to illustrate my point.
A Few Words About the Quiz
Below you’ll find fourteen sentences that contain redundancies, and fourteen suggested solutions. They’re revised examples from books, news, social media, television shows, and conversations.
Scrutinize the examples and try to find the pleonasms. Will you score 100%?
Welcome to the Promenade of
- The village was home to a community of people with many diverse talents.
- The thick clouds entirely obliterated the sun and darkened the sky.
- If the pump doesn’t perform as expected, you’ll be eligible for a full refund of the money that you paid for it.
- They couldn’t have been more different. They were total polar opposites.
- A hunter picked up the lion’s scent spoor and tracks fortuitously by accident.
- The writer tried various different phrases, but none of them seemed to fit the context.
- The most quintessential obsession of Pauline’s existence was the consumption of coffee, coffee, COFFEE.
- The new scanner reads UPC codes much faster than the old one.
- The toddler threw a noisy temper tantrum when his mother took away the toy.
- They had reached a critical juncture — which of the options should they choose?
- They didn’t have the same resources now that they used to have before.
- Just to be on the safe side, Bryan decided to cram a medical kit into his bulging knapsack.
- We need more information about exactly what that means.
- The both of them knew that they were in for a severe trouncing.
The village was home to a community
of people with many diverse talents.
community: a group of people who live in the same place or share particular characteristics
diverse: many different types of people or things
Note how the definitions embrace the meanings of the deleted words.
Alternative edit: The village was home to many people with diverse talents.
Choose the connotation that matches your storyline.
The thick clouds
entirely obliterated the sun and darkened the sky.
obliterate: make invisible by obscuring
If something is invisible, can it be partially invisible? If not, we don’t need to mention that it’s entirely invisible.
When readers visualize the sun obliterated by thick clouds, they’ll imagine a dark sky. We don’t need to mention the darkness.
Other phrases to beware:
- entirely by chance
- entirely decimated
- entirely inappropriate
- entirely natural
- entirely surrounded
- entirely [fill in the blank]
Whenever you encounter entirely or one of its synonyms, question its necessity.
Link to the rest at Anne R. Allen’s Blog… with Ruth Harris