Redundancies in writing are common. They eat up valuable word space when I’m trying to get my word count down. They are sometimes used to ‘beef’ up a piece when a writer uses them on purpose to increase their word count.
Redundancies are two words put together that are different, but mean the same thing. Some of them are filter words and I catch them when I look for filter words.
The thing about redundancies is that they don’t improve the writing at all, it’s the opposite. If I leave them in the impression that might be left with a reader or publisher is that I’m lazy… or worse. So, they have to go.
Redundant word parings are often hard to spot because we get used to seeing and using them.
Personally, when I’m reading and I see these redundancies in dialogue way too much, I think the character “speaking” is pompous, arrogant or an idiot.
Scott stopped and looked at Amber a brief moment as she ignored his presence. “Amber do you have the proofs on the Foreign imported Tuna fish project?”
“I need more time to assemble it together. It is absolutely essential I check the actual facts before I can sign off on it. I’ll be done by ten A.M this morning.”
“Works for me, I want the final outcome be perfect, that’s my ultimate goal.”
“I really like this layout. The way they eliminate altogether the empty space by blending together the illustrated drawing with the landscape scenery.”
Scott nodded and touched her shoulder gently. “I look forward to the final outcome. On a side note, how are you? Are you okay?”
She narrowed her eyes at him. “No I’m not. My emotions are all mixed together.”
“I know.” He nodded. “You’re my friend. I had to ask the question. Lunch later?”
“Sure.” She turned back to her work as he walked away. (161)
Scott stopped and looked at Amber a moment as she ignored his presence. “Amber do you have the proofs on the imported Tuna project?”
“I need time to assemble it. It is essential I check the facts before I can sign off on it. I’ll be done by ten.”
“Works for me Amber, I want the final perfect, that’s my goal.”
“I really like this layout. The way they eliminate the space by blending the illustrated with the scenery.”
Scott nodded and touched her shoulder gently. “I look forward to the final. On a side note, how are you? Are you okay?”
She narrowed her eyes at him. “No I’m not. My emotions are all mixed.”
“I know.” He nodded. “You’re my friend. I had to ask. Lunch later?”
“Sure.” She turned back to her work as he walked away. (140)
Well this is still not great. It could use some personal touches and further editing, the point is that by eliminating one of the two redundant words I was able to make it less weird and take out 21 words easily. Notice I took out AM in the morning completely. It’s a workplace, and before lunch, therefore 10am is implied. With the redundancies gone, I’m much happier with how it flows.
When I was researching which ones to look out for I found “200 redundancies commonly used” found on grammar.about.com. Check out the website for the full list.
Ascend up or ascended up (up, up and away with up)
Bouquet of flowers
Descend down or Descended down (take down that down!)
Earlier in time
Grow in size
Edge of the cusp
Hurry up (well ‘up’ with anything, check it out ‘up’ is a big filter word)
Kneel down (down is another filter word, look for it and see if it’s necessary)
Knowledgeable experts (opposed to unknowledgeable experts.. silly but I’ve seen this one recently)
Lag behind (It would be tricky to lag ahead…)
Live witness (Unless zombie or vampire witnesses are a common thing, ditch the ‘live’)
Local residents (They wouldn’t be residents if they were from out of town.)
Made out of (take out out)
New beginning (haha what other kind of beginning could there be?)
New recruit (‘new’ is a word to look out for it’s often redundant)
Old custom/cliché/proverb (‘Old’ is a filter word to watch out for. Ditch the old if describing something inherently old)
Open up (Oh that danged up!)
Outside in the yard (unless of course your yard is in your basement, then that would warrant explanation too funny.)
Over exaggerate (This partly borrowed list incredible list is seriously very wordy and abundantly over long!)
Pair of twins (Would that mean a trio of twins is three pairs of twins or six twins?
Past history/experience/memories/records (See new in the list above)
Shiny in appearance (Actually get rid of ‘in appearance’ after any description)
Two equal halves (Half is half of one hole right?)
Visible to the eye (unless writing sci-fi it’s not visible to the nose)
Warn in advance (one of my favorites. *eye roll)
My advice about redundancies in writing.
If it’s excessively redundant remove one of the superfluous words by taking it out. 😉
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