100 Redundant Expressions You Should Avoid In Writing
27
MARCH, 2018
Samuel Osho
In William Shakespeare’s famous play, Hamlet, a popular phrase was uttered in the second act by Polonius, “Brevity is the soul of wit […]” This phrase is adjudged as one of the countless witty expressions of the English writer. If wit connotes wisdom, it implies that it is of necessity for you to be brief and concise if you want to make sense either while speaking or writing.
In the heat of the jungle, the lions that go for the jugular are the ones that survive. No stories or perambulating, they go for the kill! These are writers that get the applause because they put their readers in mind while writing. Readers love writers who go straight to the point; they launch words like stones in David’s sling. In the long run, they make their words count because they are not in a race to fulfill a word count.
I am sure you can easily spot such writers in a crowd. If they are scripting a novel, they shove aside redundant expressions and clear the path as you race towards the end of the spectrum called suspense. If they are writing articles, they use powerful verbs instead of adverbs and adjectives. I know why you love them so much: it’s because they use simple language to explain everything – from chaos to serenity.
Editing is a tough turf for many writers. While you edit your work, one of the clutters you must eliminate is the use of redundant expressions or often known as needless repetitions. Am I saying don’t repeat yourself? Yes, you only need to speak once for you to be heard. To every rule, there is an exception, use repetition in the case of emphasis or clarification of a topical theme.
  
Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic speech in August 1963 but we can’t get “I have a dream” out of our heads perhaps because he repeated it eight times in his speech. So, repetition has its place. However, this article will open your eyes to some needless expressions and unnecessary duplicity that can be axed out of your writing. It will give wings to your writing. The words in parentheses should be removed.
The 100 Expressions
  1. ATM (machine)
  2. PIN (number)
  3. HIV (virus)
  4. LCD (display)
  5. GRE (exam)
  6. WASSCE (exam)
  7. RAM (memory)
  8. (live) witness
  9. (little) baby
  10. evolve (over time)
  11. (basic) necessities
  12. (basic) fundamentals
  13. (actual) facts
  14. (annual) anniversary
  15. (exploded) suddenly
  16. sat (down)
  17. stand (up)
  18. rise (up)
  19. raise (up)
  20. fall (down)
  21. drop (down)
  22. dwindle (down)
  23. compete (with each other)
  24. (old) adage
  25. (natural) instinct
  26. (new) innovation
  27. (new) invention
  28. (two) twins
  29. (pair of) twins
  30. (mutually) agreed
  31. (mutual) cooperation
  32. merge (together)
  33. refer (back) to your notes
  34. (armed) gunman
  35. (necessary) prerequisites
  36. (absolutely) essential
  37. (unexpected) emergency
  38. (original) founder
  39. (first and) foremost
  40. (brief) summary
  41. (free) gift
  42. (finally) completed
  43. (final) conclusion
  44. (final) outcome
  45. (final) end
  46. (final) ultimatum
  47. (prior) planning
  48. (advance) planning
  49. (each) individual
  50. (personally) think
  51. (annoying) pests
  52. (past) experience
  53. (new) breakthrough
  54. (different) kinds
  55. cancel (out)
  56. repeat (again)
  57. (foreign) imports
  58. (false) pretense
  59. (difficult) dilemma
  60. ask (a question)
  61. (invited) guests
  62. few (in number)
  63. (added) bonus
  64. enter (in)
  65. (end) result
  66. (unexpected) surprise
  67. written (down)
  68. (closed) fist
  69. (general) public
  70. (harmful) injuries
  71. grow (in size)
  72. (proposed) plan
  73. reply (back)
  74. revert (back)
  75. round (in shape)
  76. true (facts)
  77. three a.m (in the morning)
  78. (twelve) noon or midnight
  79. (white) snow
  80. undergraduate (student)
  81. (tiny) bit
  82. (regular) routine
  83. protest (against)
  84. pursue (after)
  85. close (proximity)
  86. (important) essentials
  87. cheaper (in cost)
  88. disappear (from view)
  89. (completely) eliminate
  90. advance (forward)
  91. tuna (fish)
  92. spell out (in detail)
  93. warn (in advance)
  94. (crystal) clear
  95. (in the field of) biology
  96. (in a period of) a week
  97. whether (or not)
  98. share (together)
  99. postpone (until later)
  100. kneel (down)
Let’s see how much you have learnt from this article with this short exercise. Eliminate the redundancies in the passage below:

“Mona had a difficult dilemma. She worked for a caterer, and from 9 a.m. in the morning until 12 noon, her job was to hand out free gifts at the mall. But her close personal friend Myrtle had just given birth to a baby girl, and she had promised to take care of Myrtle’s pair of twins while Myrtle was in the hospital. To Mona, the twins were annoying pests, but she would keep her promise. When Mona explained to her boss that Myrtle’s early delivery had come as an unexpected surprise, she could see the intense fury in his eyes. Silently, he prepared the different varieties of his decorative garnishes. The evil fiend then suddenly exploded and spelled out in detail why Mona was fired. Mona’s future prospects looked dim, as jobs were few in number. Mona now runs her own company, so getting fired may possibly have been her lucky break.”

Answer

“Mona had a dilemma. She worked for a caterer, and from 9 a.m. until noon, her job was to hand out gifts at the mall. But her close friend Myrtle had just given birth to a girl, and she had promised to take care of Myrtle’s twins while Myrtle was in the hospital. To Mona, the twins were pests, but she would keep her promise. When Mona explained to her boss that Myrtle’s early delivery had come as a surprise, she could see the fury in his eyes. Silently, he prepared the varieties of his garnishes. The fiend then exploded and spelled out why Mona was fired. Mona’s future looked dim, as jobs were few. Mona now runs her own company, so getting fired may have been her lucky break.”
Eliminating redundancies will be a lot easier with the following resources:
In conclusion, wordiness and vagueness in writing starve clarity of message. Your writing will be a lot better if you pay attention to these common redundancies.
If this has helped you in any way, then help me by hitting the share button (smiles). Please don’t hesitate to add to the list of redundancies in the comment section. 

Also published on Medium.

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