In day-to-day conversation, it is normal to repeat ourselves now and again. However, when we are writing something down, we have the benefit of proofreading and editing. Therefore, these tasks should be used as an opportunity to remove repetition and eliminate redundant expressions. Using high-quality editing and proofreading services is a straightforward way to solve the problem of redundant expressions, but if you’re curious about what exactly proofreaders and editors are looking for, this article offers some useful insights.
What is a redundant expression?
By “redundant”, we mean “unnecessary” or “needless”. Hence, in written work, a “redundant expression” is an unnecessary one. An expression may be considered redundant if it contains more than one word that has the same meaning, or if it contains words that do not add to the meaning of the expression.
As a case in point, saying “I will add up two numbers” is an example of a redundant expression. In this example, the word “up” is the cause of the redundant expression since we could – and, as a matter of fact, should – remove the word without affecting the meaning of the sentence.
As another example, consider the expression “This box contains crucial evidence inside”. This expression is redundant, but for a different reason than the expression given in the previous sentence. In particular, “contains” and “inside”, in the context of this sentence, communicate the same meaning, and so the whole phrase can be considered a redundant one.
Fixing redundant expressions
In most cases, the most straightforward way to resolve a redundant expression is to eliminate one of the words that has the same meaning as another word.
Considering one of the examples given above (“This box contains crucial evidence inside”), it is possible to fix the redundant expression by removing one of the two terms that have the same meaning. In this case, “contains” and “inside” communicate the same meaning, and so one of these should be removed.
When you use the word removal approach to fix a redundant expression, be careful not to do so mechanically. That is to say, the solution may not be as easy as simply removing one word or another. Again looking at the example of the box of evidence, note how we can remove the word “inside”, thereby fixing the redundant expression and ending up with a grammatical sentence.
However, if the word “contains” is removed in the above example, the resulting expression would no longer be a redundant one, but it would be an ungrammatical one: “The box crucial evidence inside.” Clearly, swapping the word “contains” for “has” is necessary, which shows the importance of proofreading and editing your work effectively, especially when you begin to make stylistic changes.
Can redundant expressions ever be used?
The short answer is yes. In creative writing, redundant expressions are often highly effective in adding emphasis. For example, if a character in a fairy tale makes a wish to be the same age “forever and ever”, the redundant second use of the word “ever” is permissible.
By contrast, avoiding redundant expressions in academic writing is vitally important. Doing so will increase the clarity of your work and reduce your word count, making it easier and quicker to read. Using proofreading and editing services is a valuable way to help out here.