36 redundant phrases to eliminate from your writing

As Strunk and White famously admonished, ‘Omit needless words.’ Here are some worth omitting.

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

One way I’ve found to help readers is to use concise language and eliminate redundancies. As Strunk and White advise, “Make every word tell.”

Below is a list of phrases in which every word does not tell. These phrases are redundant, repetitive, wordy, and verbose. Paring phrases such as these is an easy way 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
• in the month of September
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 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 an Austin-based writer and editor and a regular contributor to PR Daily. Read more of her work at impertinentremarks.com.

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