3 Types of Redundant Writing and How to Avoid Them (2023)

3 Types of Redundant Writing and How to Avoid Them (1)

Redundancy not only makes your writing more difficult to read, but also tends to undermine the arguments you are trying to make.

[*To update*: definitely readPart 2from this series on redundancyHere.]

Generally, 'redundancy' refers to a quality of the superfluous, the unnecessary, and often excessive repetition.

In the context of writing,Redundancy denotes text that, in one way or another, represents more than is necessary to achieve the writing goals.

If you're thinking, "Okay, I've got it!" or "Get to work, okay?" When you are reading something, you are probably in the presence of superfluous writing.

Redundant writing should be avoided for (at least) three reasons:

  1. It tends to break the flow of your prose, distracting and irritating your reader.
  2. Often contradicts or undermines what you are trying to do with your writing (e.g., make a specific claim or explore a specific idea)
  3. It suggests an amateurish quality to your writing that threatens to leave your reader with a bad taste, so to speak.

Below are three common types of redundant writing, along with some practical tips on how to avoid each in your own prose.

Before I begin, let me make two small caveats:

  1. Sometimes debates about whether a section of text is redundant reflect differences in taste or style rather than strict rules on syntax and the like.
  2. Exceptions can be found in some of the examples below, so I encourage you to take the following less as rigid parameters to be met at all times and more as general guidelines that will, in the vast majority of cases, keep you on track. Cases. .

General description:

This first example of redundancy is something that virtually all of us are familiar with.

Refers to text that contains an unnecessary amount (redundance) of description.

It is true that the description of "too little" versus "too much" is often a subjective rather than an objective matter.

However, an over-description is sometimes obvious enough to warrant little or no disagreement about its presence and impact.


(Video) 17 common redundant phrases and how to get rid of them

A.“He was a boy, actually a child. At the age of four he was not quite an adult. Ever since I was a kid, I've played with other kids. He didn't have any adult friends because he wasn't an adult yet. He was 48 months old, 12 months older than 36 and a year older than three. He was young at heart and old. He wasn't old yet, because he was only born four years ago.

We understand! He is a four year old boy!

B."The ripe banana lay in front of her. It was dark in color and smooth to the touch. It wasn't mature anymore. It was ripe a few days ago but not ripe now. Ripe bananas are yellowish green, but this one was dark brown. The ripe dark brown banana, once yellow but now brown and soft, was too soft to eat.”

We understand! The banana is too ripe!

C."Personally, I would never do it. When I speak for myself, it's not in my nature. To be honest, it's not something I'm comfortable with. Others might think differently about it, but I couldn't handle it. That's just me: my own feelings about it."

We understand! You express your own opinion and concerns!

How to avoid:

Try to find the right balance between too much description/detail and too little description/detail by asking yourself the following two questions:

  1. How is the reader likely to react to my writing here?Will it grab and hold their attention? Or will they be bored, lose interest, and/or perhaps frustrated at having to grapple with the text?
  2. I have given more description than necessary to convey thisbeingsThe point I want to make?If so, do I really need the extra descriptors? How, if at all, do they help me get my point across? (Hint: They probably don't help at all.)

I find that there is often a little voice in my head that chides me every time I put too much description into my prose.

If you too have a nagging voice in your head, I suggest that you listen to it every time it tells you to "cut the fat" in your writing.

General description:

This second example of redundancy is less obvious than the first, and perhaps that's why it seems to be more common than the over-description error.

It refers to a text containing two (or more) words or phrases that perform the same function, the presence of both being unnecessary. The result is that the function being performed is degraded or defeated and/or the text containing the redundancy appears "clunky" (and therefore likely to interrupt the reader's attention).


A."We also need to consider the impact of environmental protection."

"Also" and "Also" fulfill the same function, i. H. both complement what is before what is discussed.

(Video) The Grammar Series: Redundant Words and Phrases

There's just no need to double mark the addition of another point: "also"Ö"also" suffices here; 'Also'j"also" is superfluous.

B."One fact he refused to acknowledge, however..."

Likewise, "although" and "but" when used in this way both serve the same function, that is, both serve to qualify (add) what came before what is being discussed.

Again, only one of these terms should be included.

C."However, the lawyers called three different witnesses."

This suffers from the same kind of redundancy described immediately above in the "however, but" example.

D."Aside from Brown's (2011) study of the impact of rising inflation rates on the average American's ability to secure a mortgage, no other studies have used the model to empirically assess..."

The double use of "other" in this sentence is redundant: the real purpose of putting "except..." at the beginning of the sentence is to allow the second half of the sentence to continue without having to use the word "". other''.

The correct (non-redundant) version of this sentence is:

"Aside from Brown's (2011) study of the impact of rising inflation rates on the average American's ability to secure a mortgage, no studies have used the model to empirically assess..."

The "other" at the beginning of this sentence qualifies the first few words after the comma, i.e. "no study has...", making a second use of "other" unnecessary.

How to avoid:

To avoid this second form of redundancy, you need to think and write moreslowjcarefullyto resist the temptation to work quickly and haphazardly.

You need to pay more attention to what your words mean and what tasks they fulfill.

If you're having trouble with this kind of redundancy in your writing, the best advice I can give you is to start thinking about the words you're using in relation tofunctionsdo they.

Words do things in a sentence and evoke ideas in the reader's mind: they perform grammatical, logical, and syntactical functions to make a (properly constructed) sentence "work".


Just as each of the different shots on a camera play a different role in allowing them all to "come together" to create a final visual image, each of the words and their combinations in your writing play a different role in allowing them all to "come together". can. be' .join' to create a coherent ending.

If your writing suffers from this second type of redundancy, ask yourself questions like:

  1. Why do I put these words (e.g. 'also', 'although', 'and', 'also', 'but', 'nevertheless', 'also') in this particular clause?If you removed one of the words or changed its placement, would the sentence still mean(s) the same?
  2. Do two or more words or phrases in this sentence have the same function?If so, is there a reason I shouldn't rule out any of them?
  3. What exactly am I trying to convey here?Does that particular word (or words) really help me make this point clear? (Note: if not, you should 'delete' it.)

The two types of redundancy described so far are among the most common I've encountereda processor.

In addition to these variants, we can point out some forms of redundancy, which I will summarize for brevity in this final section.

Summary 1:

First, there is what we can consider astechnical redundancy.

This refers to the presence of the superfluous in a technical context or has to do with the format and mechanics of writing. The result is a confusing text overload with too many technical elements (like too many references).

example 1:

"Foucault (1977:24) argues that scholars 'need to shed the illusion that punishment is primarily (if not exclusively) a means of reducing crime' (Foucault, 1977:24)".

There is simply no need to provide two references here for the same citation: either the first reference should be left as is and the second should be removed entirely, or the second should be left as is and the first should be entirely removed.

How to avoid 1:

Familiarize yourself with the guidelines and rules that modern dating systems are built on and follow the parameters accordingly.

Here are some useful references to get you started:

• A.P.A. Dating-Guide:official guide(additional links:1,2,3)

• Chicago Dating Guide:official guide(additional links:1,2,3)

• Harvard Citation Guides:1,2,3

(Video) Redundant Expressions

• M.L.A. Dating-Guide:official guide(additional links:1,2,3).

Summary 2:

Second, there is what you might calluncreative repetition.

This refers to writing that unnecessarily repeats the same basic claim or argument without providing additional context, detail, perspective, or nuance to help the reader better understand and appreciate the meaning of the claim or argument. The result is monotonous text that looks pointlessly "slow," "long," and rounded.

Redundancy as uncreative repetition is more prone to controversy and debate than some of the other forms of redundancy discussed above.

That's because there's a fine line between, on the one hand, creatively presenting a key idea multiple times to emphasize its importance and ensure its understandability, and, on the other hand, unnecessarily repeating the same point in a way that adds little to its emotional impact or psychological or its intelligibility.

Example 2:

"Your position on the subject of 'x' is morally deplorable. It violates the standards of right and wrong, decency and indecency. It is opposed to what is good, just, right and noble. It has no moral substance. It has no virtue and lacks integrity."

In essence, these five sentences do little more than indicate that the politician's position on point "x" is morally problematic.

Although the paragraph offers a plethora of synonyms for "morally deplorable," none of these synonyms add anything substantive to the text to help the reader understand itWhytheir commitments are morally flawed andin what specific way.

Therefore the paragraph is superfluous.

To be clear, there are circumstances where it is acceptable, if not advisable, to repeat the same claim or argument multiple times in a single document.

For example, if you are a graduate student writing a dissertation, it is important to remind the reader of how each chapter in your project is aligned and to demonstrate the truth of your overall argument to maintain the coherence and understandability of your manuscript.

But again, repetition is purposeful (i.e. purposeful): rather than engaging in repetition for repetition's sake, the goal is to restate defining ideas from time to time to ensure the reader sees how those ideas work intertwine with the other design elements.

How to avoid 2:

If you find yourself repeating yourself (and/or if other people complain about this aspect of your writing), here are some questions you can ask yourself to try and make your prose less monotonous and more engaging:

(Video) English lesson to reduce redundancy and improve English speaking style.

  1. How many times have I made this point?Is every joint really necessary? Can I remove one or more instances without affecting the overall consistency, clarity, and persuasiveness of my words? (Hint: if the answer is yes, you should start "hacking").
  2. Are the various repetitions of this point practically identical?Or do some of them add new information/insights or make new connections to other parts of the text and help the reader better understand the nuances of what I'm saying?
  3. Am I repeating myself for illegitimate reasons?like the need to meet word constraint requirements or to avoid having to think too much (more) about some of the issues at hand?

One last thing:Get more stories like thisHere. Note: This article contains Amazon affiliate links.


1. Redundant Phrases in English | Taj The Teacher
(Tajee Reid Williams)
2. Bàn Giao Ngôi Nhà Mini Cho Ông Bà Tí Hon, Cuộc Chia Tay Đầy Xúc Động.
3. Irrelevant and Redundant Ideas TWO - Writing Lab Revision Module
(Mr. Durfee's Writing Lab)
4. IT in Three: What is RAID?
5. 100 Common Redundant Phrases You Should Stop Using
(CSEC English)
6. Redundancy and Wordiness Grammar Video By English Spoken Here Video 2016
(English Spoken Here)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Virgilio Hermann JD

Last Updated: 11/16/2023

Views: 6460

Rating: 4 / 5 (61 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Virgilio Hermann JD

Birthday: 1997-12-21

Address: 6946 Schoen Cove, Sipesshire, MO 55944

Phone: +3763365785260

Job: Accounting Engineer

Hobby: Web surfing, Rafting, Dowsing, Stand-up comedy, Ghost hunting, Swimming, Amateur radio

Introduction: My name is Virgilio Hermann JD, I am a fine, gifted, beautiful, encouraging, kind, talented, zealous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.