redundancy

Tara

Redundancy has a special talent for sneaking into sentences when the writer isn’t looking. Following are two sentences by best-selling authors.

The first is from a book about spiritual principles:

Whenever you feel negative emotion, it is always telling you that whatever you are thinking about is important, and that you are thinking about the opposite of what you really desire.

Using always in the same sentence as whenever is redundant. The simple solution is to delete one of the words:

Whenever you feel negative emotion, it is telling you that whatever you are thinking about is important, and that you are thinking about the opposite of what you really desire.

That’s an improvement, but there are other problems with usage and sentence structure. I won’t go into them right now, as I want to keep the focus on redundancy. But I will offer this cleaner alternative to the sentence above:

Negative emotion is a sure sign that what you are thinking is important, and that it is the opposite of what you really desire.

The next example is from a mystery novel:

A woman bustled in from an open doorway. She was about fiftyish.

“Fiftyish” is slang, and you won’t find it in Webster’s online dictionary. It means “about fifty,” making the last two words of the sentence redundant. Correct usage would be one of the following:

A woman bustled in from an open doorway. She was about fifty.

A woman bustled in from an open doorway. She was fiftyish.

Another option is to integrate the two sentences, like this:

A woman who was about fifty bustled in from an open doorway.

Or, like this:

A fiftyish woman bustled in from an open doorway.

For more free writing tips, guidelines, and articles, visit Treasurefield Communications.

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About 123clear

I translate foggy information into plain English.
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