Redundancies

Did you know that redundant comes from the Latin verb “redundare,” to overflow? Sometimes we use superfluous words without realizing it. Some writers do it on purpose, mistakenly thinking that more words will make a good impression. Instead, wordiness can be a boring turn off.

Words beginning with the prefix “re,” which means “again,” or “back,” can be particularly troublesome. If you see the prefix, “re,” in a word, chances are that it means to do something again.

Restart – start again

Remake – make again

Redo – do again

Revert – go back

(You get the picture.)

When “re” does the job of “again,” it is redundant (superfluous) to repeat “again.”

Be careful not to use this needless repetition.

“He restarted the car again.”

“Let’s return back home again.”

“She reverted back to her childhood.”

“The teacher insisted I redo the homework again.”

Again” and “back” are redundant.

*****

Here are some more cases of redundant word usage. You can remove the words marked in red and not lose the meaning.

He is a man who says what he believes.

There is no doubt but that he will be late.

She spoke in a rough manner (roughly).

As to whether he will be there, I don’t know.

The fact that … (Completely unnecessary)

Owing to the fact that … (Replace with “since”)

In spite of the fact that … (Replace with “although”)

Politicians like to use repeated (redundant) words for emphasis.

Here is a man who is honourable.

Here is a man who is hard working.

Here is a man who is reliable.

And here is a man who is trustworthy.

This could all be said in one sentence.

This man is honourable, hard working, reliable, and trustworthy.

Unless you are trying for emphasis, it is best to stay away from redundant words and phrases. Even so, there are better ways to make an emphatic point.

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6 thoughts on “Redundancies

  1. I’d like to play devil’s advocate and say that sometimes the redundant versions just ‘sound better’ within some passages. But yes, brevity in general is always preferred. Great examples though. You highlighted everything so well. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • With writing, I agree that sometimes following all the grammatical rules can be too rigid. It’s very subjective and that’s part of what makes writing fun. I put these “rules” (better to call them “guidelines”) out there for those people who have no idea that what they’re writing is wrong. I think you have to know the rule before you can successfully break it. You’ve made a good point, Stuart!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is what makes you a great editor, Anneli (or one of the things, anyway). It’s difficult for writers to “see” their own redundancies, but a good editor catches them. I hope to have some work for you soon! (Um, have I said that several times in the past few months…?) ;-0

    Liked by 2 people

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