Let’s look at, examine, and explore tautologies, repetitions, and other superfluous excesses
[Editor’s note: This article was originally written for Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing, hosted by Mignon Fogarty.]
As communicators, we want to keep our writings as cogent as possible; in part, that means excising needless words—notably redundancies.
Earlier and later
There’s a particular construction that frequently makes its way into even the best news writing, as well as into press releases and other corporate communications: “later this week,” “earlier this year” and the like. Here’s how and why the “later” and “earlier” are redundant. Consider this sentence: “I’ll get back to you later this week.”