34 redundant, repetitive, and superfluous phrases

Eliminate tautologies from your copy; your readers will thank you.

As writers, editors, and PR professionals, we are keenly aware that we must fight for readers’ attention. My daily sanity check is to ask, “Is someone actually going to read this?”

To help readers, I use concise language and eliminate redundancies. As Strunk and White say, “Make every word tell.”

Below are phrases in which every word does not tell. They are redundant, repetitive, wordy, verbose, and superfluous. Eliminate such phrases to tighten your writing. (Redundant words are italicized.)

added bonus
advance planning
armed gunman
• circulate around
• close proximity
completely full
• consensus of opinion
• each individual person
• fewer in number
final outcome
free gift
future plans
general public
invited guests
• join together
• large in size
major breakthrough
• my personal opinion
on a daily basis
past experience
past history
• period of time
• predict in advance
• red in color
• revert back
• round in shape
• firm in consistency
still continues
• sum total
true fact
unexpected surprise
unsolved mystery
• visible to the eye
12 noon (or 12 midnight)
• 7 a.m. in the morning

Ragan readers, which of these redundancies do you find most annoying? Have any to add?

Laura Hale Brockway is the author of the writing/editing/random thoughts blog, impertinentremarks.com.

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