100 Redundant Expressions You Should Avoid In Writing

100 Redundant Expressions You Should Avoid In Writing

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. 

On Stephen Hawking: Tough Times Never Last But Tough People Do

On Stephen Hawking: Tough Times Never Last But Tough People Do

On Stephen Hawking: Tough Times Never Last But Tough People Do
20
MARCH, 2018
Samuel Osho
In 2012, I got a weird look from one of my mentors when he realized that I knew next to nothing about Stephen Hawking. It is in semblance with the shock that greets you when “a passionate Nigerian writer” tells you that he has read many books except for Chinua Achebe’s classic, Things Fall Apart.
My mentor instructed me to read “A Brief History of Time,” and watch the movie. This was how I fell in love with the British physicist Stephen Hawking. I pounced on the Internet and read almost anything I could find about Hawking. I was inspired by his story of resilience and dedication to greatness. His life chronicled the journey of a tenacious scholar that was in love with the laws behind the wonders of nature. His struggles were obvious but his doggedness placed his name amidst the stars.
Hawking, a genius who devised a plethora of laws in theoretical physics except for the theory of immortality has died at 76. As tributes pour in ahead of his burial at Westminster Abbey, I would like us to draw strong reflections from a life with a fleet of remarkable feats.
I am not going to bore you with black hole theories and his thought-provoking discoveries in cosmology, I will only show you the trying moments of his life.
His Tough Moments

1. The Awakening of the Genius Gene

At the age of 17 in 1959, Hawking was admitted into the prestigious University College, Oxford to study Physics and Chemistry after he aced his scholarship exams. Winning a scholarship to study at Oxford was a turning point in Hawking’s life as he was nicknamed “Einstein” during his college days because of his academic struggles. He never started out as the genius we all read about today. He graduated with a first class and proceeded to the iconic University of Cambridge for his Masters and Ph.D. degrees.

2. The Diagnosis

In 1963 when Hawking was only 21, his doctors told him he had two more years to live. He was diagnosed with the motor neurone disease (aka amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, “ALS” or Lou Gehrig’s disease). The diagnosis came in while he was just starting out his graduate studies at Cambridge, he suffered a bit of depression but came out shining. His physical abilities deteriorated over the years, the paralysis ceased his ability to write, speak, and walk. He needed close friends and family members to convey his words to others but he frowned at been classified as a disabled person.

3. Face to Face With Death

Hawking’s life was threatened in 1985 when he contracted pneumonia while he was on a trip to Switzerland. He got so sick that he was on life support for days and his wife, Jane Hawking had to settle for a tracheotomy which led to the permanent loss of his voice. Walter Woltosz, CEO of Words Plus developed a computer program called the “Equalizer” that assisted Hawking in communicating his thoughts to others via spoken words. With his fingers, he could press a switch that selects words and phrases from a pool of about 3,000 words, This made him produce about 15 words per minute with a mechanical version of his original voice.

4. The First Book

Publishing a book when you have lost the ability to speak or write is a tall order. He started writing his first book in 1982 with the help of his assistant and editor. The book explained some of the complex theories that govern the universe in simple terms that everyone could understand.   In 1988, the book was published and it was titled, “A Brief History of Time.” It received massive media attention and was a great success. It has been translated into several languages and about 9 million copies sold. The book appeared on the British Sunday Times best-seller for a record-breaking 237 weeks. With the help of his children, he published many popular books later.

5. The Wonders of the Cheek Muscles

In the wake of his outstanding academic achievements and publication of his first book, his popularity soared, earning him more awards, international trips, and meetings with celebrities. Hawking’s paralysis got worse in 2005 when he lost the use of his hands, meaning he had to settle for another medium of communicating with his audience asides using his finger on a switch. He had to control his communicating device with the movement of his cheek muscles and produced at the rate of one word per minute.
“Go the extra mile. It makes your boss look like an incompetent slacker.” – Stephen Hawking

6. The Space Flight Experience

In an interview with BBC in 2006, Hawking spoke about one of his secret desires of traveling to space. Unfortunately, he never achieved his dream of traveling to space via commercial flight before his death but he got so close. In April 2007, Hawking experienced weightlessness on a specially-modified flight, replicating the gravitational forces astronauts go through in space flights.

7. Resting Amidst the Scholars

Interestingly, his final resting place at Westminster Abbey will be beside the graves of scholars like Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton. He died on the Pi Day, a day which coincides with the 139th anniversary of Einstein’s birth and he was born on the 300th anniversary of Galileo’s death.
His Favorite Quotes

“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”

“I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.”

“My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.”

“Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.”

“I have no idea. People who boast about their IQ are losers.”

“Quiet people have the loudest minds.”

“People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining.”

“We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet,”

“One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.”
Hawking’s Last Speech on Stage
In conclusion, this is an attempt to give a brief history of an erudite scholar that etched his name amidst the greats. This is the unveiling of a story that crushes all your excuses without mercy. In his death, he remains a genius in the books of many and a very controversial figure because of his unabashed atheistic views.

5 Things That Only Writers Will Understand

5 Things That Only Writers Will Understand

5 Things Only Writers Will Understand
12
MARCH, 2018
Samuel Osho
Writing can be that unique addiction that exhausts you; you write all through the night and read during the day to get inspiration. You assemble letters like a coach sets out with his winning team but you get pummeled like Arsene Wenger.
People tell you that they like your articles but the visible likes are abysmally low and the number of shares needs some high heels to see above a fence that is 1 ft. tall. The comments section is as lively as a bar immediately after breakfast.
Sometimes, they call you a jobless folk sitting behind screens and punching keys without paying attention to the hands of time. It’s your abode and you gladly enjoy the pains of your solitude. Gradually, you become the master of words and you know how to send them on errands. Your words birth smiles; they wipe tears and comfort broken souls.
You fill blank screens with millions of words; you search for the right words in the jungle of letters to dress thoughts in beautiful attires. It’s a feisty war and a fierce battle to tell stories that touch the heart. You are the real MVP. Every writer out there deserves a medal.
From ideas, you create a catalog of captivating stories. Your numb fingers pierce through writer’s block like iron prongs; every piece is a product of resilience. You are just so gifted with words and make them look more than an assemblage of alphabets. From the castles of solitude, you send a storm of letters that resurrects our memories from the ashes of history. Everything comes alive because your pen gives life.
Despite the seemingly boring life of writers, there are some distinctive features that separate this clan of creative artists into a community. We’ve got some unique traits, it’s very easy to tell if someone is a writer.

 

 

The 5 Crazy Things About Writers

1. All eyes on you

There is this eerie feeling of all eyes peering at you while reading your published work. Even if it is a Facebook post, you nurse the possibility of your readers judging you and your work. Then, you begin to plot several trajectories of a million thoughts in your head. After observing from the sidelines, you create a long list of folks who love your work and those who just ignore it. Often, those who truly appreciate your work are the conservative ones who never click the like button or drop a comment.

 

2. Books are your best friends

I know you have great people in your life that you can call friends but nothing can be compared to the joy in your heart when you see your favorite books. Books are your best friends; they are treasured pearls. You’d sacrifice new shoes for getting the latest book of your favorite author. Your bookshelf is full but that never stops you from getting a new book.

And perhaps, maybe you are like me, people call me bookish because I carry a book with me everywhere. I have this terrible habit of reading books in the washroom while on the toilet seat. I have met some writers who do the same. We just love books and we can’t hide our love.

“It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.” – Robert Benchley

3. Hibernate in your crib

You love to steal some lone time so you can scribble new stories and write new blog posts. Writing takes time and it usually comes at the price of solitude. Apparently, because you love to spend time with yourself, people tend to decorate your personality as a quiet frame.

At weekends, when a bulk of your friends choose to attend parties, you already have a plan to catch up on your writing adventures. For the worst part, every time there is a debate about being social, you try so hard to convince people that you are very social but they still don’t get it.

4. Hating your own work

From close friends to family members, everyone shows appreciation for your work but it could be very difficult to believe that you did a great job. Every time, you cast a glance on your work, you perceive that there is a missing piece and you find every chance to trash the work. This is why you often get utterly amazed when the accolades for your work come in showers as against your expected trickles.

 

5. You are a deadline ninja

I will assume that you are a saint and you don’t belong to the clan of writers that are often inspired by deadlines. You follow the schedules and you hit the deadlines without breaking a sweat. But for some of us, we have suffered a great deal in the hands of deadlines that look like nightmares.
When the deadline is approaching and it’s about two days away, you begin to observe crazy mannerisms – staying indoors for two straight days, surfing the net like a spiderman, reading books like a nerd and eating in bed. It’s a crazy life but it is because we want to pay a homage to the golden deadline. The battle to crush procrastination is an ongoing process and we believe we are getting better with every passing week.
In conclusion, regardless of your interaction with words, I just want you to know that you are awesome. Either you are a professional writer or you love writing as a hobby, thanks for putting your works out there. Our world is beautiful because of your boldness with words.

 

 

How to Crush Procrastination: 10 Tips That Work

How to Crush Procrastination: 10 Tips That Work

How to Crush Procrastination: 10 Tips That Work
05
MARCH, 2018
Samuel Osho
Time is running out, we don’t have control over it and we don’t even know how much we have left on earth. Time is so expensive; no one can afford to buy a second when death knocks or keep a minute in a vault to be used later. In our lazy shrines, we sacrifice time on the altar of excuses and find ways to convince ourselves that the best time to complete a task is tomorrow. Sadly, we never get it done until six weeks later.
According to psychologists, there are two classes of procrastinators: chronic procrastinators and situational procrastinators. For the chronic procrastinators, procrastination is a daily habit that has made them artists in the gallery of incomplete projects. They can hardly finish a task without either getting distracted or finding an excuse. Procrastination pops up occasionally in the schedule of situational procrastinators because of various reasons – tough projects, ambiguous tasks, unrealistic deadlines and many more.
Procrastination is a popular enemy of highly creative people especially writers and artists. Before the famous French poet and novelist Victor Hugo could craft epic novels like Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, he devised a plan: instructed his servant to strip him naked in his study and not return his clothes until an agreed time. It was reported that American author Herman Melville asked his wife to chain him to his desk while procrastinating the completion of his remarkable novel, Moby-Dick.

 

Unfortunately, Leonardo da Vinci did not tow the path of Hugo and Melvile, he failed to fight his procrastination. The legendary artist of Italian origin, Leonardo da Vinci, despite his amazing talents, he had a string of unfinished projects because of procrastination. It took him 16 years to complete his most celebrated work, the Mona Lisa (also known as La Gioconda).

 

Procrastination steals more than your time, it kills your productivity and litters your desk with a catalog of unfinished projects.  It’s that time of the year when timely completion of your projects is pivotal to your success.
Here are 10 possible ways that can be employed in tackling procrastination:
The Top 10 Tips That Work

1. Create a Plan

Don’t leave your projects hanging on the to-do list without a detailed plan. For the successful completion of each project, you need a plan which highlights the timeline of the project from start to finish. Projects without concrete plans are often pushed off to a later date that never shows up.

2. Break it down

Have you noticed that tasks with ambiguous titles are often pushed to the bottom of your to-do list? If you have a task like writing a book, it’s advisable to break it down into bits that can be processed easily. For instance, writing a book can have the following sub-tasks: Outline creation, creation of chapters, write the book with one chapter at a time, decide on a topic, editing, gathering of blurbs, choose a cover design and publishing.

3. Be realistic

When setting deadlines for your tasks, avoid unrealistic timelines. Set your deadlines based on the volume of work at hand and your capacity. For example, if you are giving a client the delivery date for the completion of a website design project, you need to consider the size of the website and the number of ongoing projects you currently have on your list.

4. Establish your priorities

Getting your priorities right is a catalyst that accelerates the completion of your projects. Having a list of priorities serves as a guide in choosing what next to do when you feel overwhelmed with numerous tasks.

5. Manage your time

Crushing procrastination boils down to how well you manage your time. Are you using your time productively? Not all “busy” people are productive. Do you have a detailed plan that shows how you want to spend your day based on an hourly schedule? A schedule will ensure you do the right task at the right time. Improper management of your time will lead to a backlog of incomplete tasks and hence procrastination.
“You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.” – Benjamin Franklin

6. Minimize distractions

Wasting of time usually emanates from our inability to starve our distractions. In this age where we treat our phones like babies in need of food and attention. Every ping from notifications controls more than the motion of your fingers but also the direction of your head. There is an increase in the demand for your attention and the ongoing competition for your focus never seems to wane. To crush procrastination, you must deal with your distractions before they deal with you.

7. Harness the power of positive thinking

Have you set out time to think about how fulfilled you will be when you eventually complete your unfinished projects? Make out time and write all the positive things that will happen to you when you stop procrastinating. Make a list of all the things that will be in perfect shape when you act instead of staying idle. To set you on your feet, you can check the flip side of the coin – look at the negative things that may happen if you don’t stop procrastinating today. You will be amazed.

8. Avoid perfectionism

A huge chunk of perfectionists are victims of procrastination. A lot of books are still sitting on dusty shelves because the writers felt they are not fit to grace the glare of the public. Even though they have spent hundreds of hours editing and reviewing the book, the perfectionist syndrome will not allow them to publish it. Give your best when executing a project and do quality work but don’t be entrapped by perfectionism.

9. Get an accountability partner

In today’s world where freedom is often misinterpreted, getting an accountability partner may sound odd. I quite understand the craze for self-sufficiency but having an accountability partner on very key projects in your life can be very helpful. Projects like writing a book, creating a podcast, writing an essay, running a blog and many more. An accountability partner will be someone that can check on you at any time to ask about your progress. You must be open and very comfortable with this person; it works like magic.

10. Reward yourself

Whenever you complete a task, you can reward yourself with an activity for relaxation or a break. A Pomodoro Timer works based on this principle: get a break of five minutes after working for 25 minutes. In a broader sense, you can say, “I won’t go to the movies to watch Black Panther until I am done with writing the term paper for BIO 112.” In other words, watching the movie is the reward for finishing your term paper on time.
In conclusion, I hope this helps you to crush procrastination and say goodbye to writing essays when it’s two days to submission day. I equally struggled with procrastination and have tried all the methods mentioned above on different occasions, they really worked.
If you have any other tips for crushing procrastination that I omitted in my article, please feel free to drop them in the comments section.

 

 

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