Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wednesday Writing Tips: Remove Redundancy

Writing tips from the EC editors

Redundant Words

Redundancy: needless repetition; being superfluous and unneeded.

Chop out the superfluous words clogging up your prose and annoying readers.
  • shrugged his shoulders; nodded his head; blinked/squinted his eyes  [What else would he have shrugged, nodded or blinked?]
  • pursed her lips together [You can't purse them apart.]
  • rose up  [You can't rise down, so the 'up' is redundant.]
  • "the reason is because"  [Remove the "because", or better yet delete the whole phrase and just state the reason.]
  • thought to herself [Who else would she be thinking to, her pet fish or the dust bunnies?]
  • "the fact is that"  [Just say the fact, don't say that you're going to say it.]
  • she waved her hand  [Try simply "she waved", unless she is waving something besides her hand.]
  • bald-headed man  [The reader assumes a bald man is lacking hair on his head.]
  • breathing in and out  [Can you breathe up and down? Forward and backward? It's enough to just breathe.]

1 comment:

Angelia said...

I just tangled with a co-author (not Naomi) about this. He had the guy reaching his hand into his jacket pocket and "a whistle from a man's lips" written in.

My first response was "I don't think he's limber enough to reach withe his feet. And I don't want to know what else he could be whistling with!"