How to Avoid Redundancy

A well-written article keeps the reader engaged. To ensure meeting the purpose of writing, one of the most important errors to be avoided is redundancy. Redundancy in writing is when more words than necessary are used to express something, such as words and/or phrases that convey the same meaning in the same sentence. Redundancies tend to render an otherwise though-provoking article uninteresting. Concise text is more absorbing and easier to understand. Therefore, a writer should be particularly conscious about avoiding this aspect of writing. Care should be taken to provide more relevant information rather than cluttering the article with repetitive words and phrases that would not contribute much to the article.

The following tips and examples would help you avoid redundancies in your next article:

  1. Double negatives
    A grammatical construction in which two forms of negation are used is called a double negative. These can be very confusing; for example “The proposal was not unattractive. Avoiding these will make a sentence shorter as well as easier to understand.

  2. Pleonasm
    Firstly, what is pleonasm? It is the repetition of words or phrases using synonyms; for example, “4am in the morning” instead of just “4am” or “I heard with my own ears” instead of “I heard.”

  3. Abbreviations
    Be careful when using abbreviations. People have a tendency to write “HIV virus” or “CPU unit,” when the words “virus” and “unit” are already present in the abbreviations (“human immunodeficiency virus” and “central processing unit,” respectively).

  4. Language origin
    An example of this type of error is “50th year anniversary”; the word “anniversary” is derived from the Latin word “annum,” meaning year. Therefore, it is sufficient to write “50th anniversary.”

  5. Always follow the "less is more" rule
    Shorten sentences without compromising on what you wish to convey. Unnecessary introductory phrases such as "As far as I’m concerned," and "First and foremost," can be deleted. Avoid overuse of adverbs; for example, “She shouted loudly.” A shout is loud, so the adverb “loudly” is redundant here. Adverbs are required in certain cases. “Ann drove wildly down the road, putting all other drivers at risk”; here, removing the word “wildly” would change the meaning totally. The sentence “The speaker’s choice of words were maddening and infuriated the public,” can be shortened to “The speaker’s choice of words infuriated the public.” Some other examples of redundancy are “exactly the same,” “very unique,” and “completely eliminate.”

Following these few tips would definitely help in improving your next writing assignment and thereby conveying your intended meaning most effectively to your reader.