Do repetitive phrases waste the reader’s time? Here are some common phrases that are redundant.
- advance planning: planning must always be done in advance
- ask the question: is there ever anything else that can be asked but a question?
- assemble together: a group cannot assemble any other way but together
- cash money: cash is money
- combined together: just like assemble together, there is no way to combine apart
- each and every: as adjectives, these words mean the same thing
- end result: results only happen at the end
- fewer in number: fewer only refers to numbers
- large in size: large denotes size, you don’t need to say “size”
- mix together: like combine and assemble, things can only be mixed together
- month of November: everyone knows November is a month
- red in color: can red be anything other than a color?
- square in shape: square is its shape
- sum total: if you have a sum, you have a total
Many of these phrases, however, are used in every day speech. I don’t think I’ve ever watched a cooking show where the host hasn’t used the expression “mix together” or “combine together.” What does that mean for a writer? Expressions like these are grammatically repetitive, yet common in usage. So for example, if you are writing dialogue between two average people, it might be perfectly acceptable to use phrases like these. Why? Because that’s how people talk. On the other hand, if you are writing narrative, you probably want to avoid them. Reading your work out loud will expose some of the clumsy phrases and awkward grammar that might have crept into your writing. Happy editing my friends!