Notes from writing class - Redundancy


Disclaimer: This is a recurring and random series of posts. I'm currently enrolled in a basic writing/editing class and felt that my notes might be helpful to others. Please note, I am not an editor. I'm just an author trying to learn more about the craft to improve my own work, and sharing the things I learn along the way.   Enjoy.


Redundancy

Let’s talk a little about redundancy. Redundancy occurs when you tell someone something twice in the same sentence or over explain an action.

Example:

He shrugged his shoulders.
Well, what else is he going to shrug? It’s a given if he shrugs that it is his shoulders moving.

I received the call at 12 midnight.
If it’s midnight, it’s a given that it is 12.

See what I mean?

There are a ton of redundancies in writing that happen without our even thinking of it or noticing it.

Her heart beat wildly in her chest.
Where else would her heart beat?

I’m probably more guilty of this than most. In fact, I don’t even think electroshock therapy would help me to curb my overabundances in first drafts. Thank God for critiquing buddies though. They tend to spot quite a few of them.

But, we all have to try and avoid them where we can, so here is a short list of common redundancies to look for. Put them in your word search and see if you can cut them out.

Exactly the same
heart beat/slammed/pounded in her/his chest
nodded his/her head
shrugged his/her shoulders
thought to himself/herself
thought in his/her head
sat down
stood up
biography of her life
circle around
close proximity
completely unanimous
each and every
basic essentials
personal opinion
repeat again
return again
revert back
summarize briefly
anonymous stranger
assembled together
bald-headed
blended together
brief summary
cacophony of sound

For a more complete list, try this link

http://grammar.about.com/od/words/a/redundancies.htm

Comments

L.C. Evans said…
Thanks. This is a good reminder. I pick up a lot of these when I revise.
Katie S said…
I'm so thankful that my critiquing buddies help point these out for me. They are so easy to put in, especially in first drafts.
Sibel Hodge said…
I normally pick up these when I edit, but it's still a good reminder. Thanks for posting. :)
Katie S said…
Glad the reminder helpes.