How to Avoid Redundant Phrases in Writing

May 21, 2019
redundant phrases to avoid

There are several things that make an essay writer a good one: strong research skills, ability to think critically and analyze information, and personal writing style. The latter means you know how to explain difficult ideas in simple language, how to avoid redundant phrases, and make the text readable.

What are redundant phrases

Redundancy is a needless repetition of words, phrases or ideas in sentences. Unlike synonyms, these elements don’t express different shades of meaning. How to understand that you are dealing with redundancy sentences? Look at a phrase and check whether a modified word shares the meaning of a modifier. Paraphrase a redundant element to check whether this modifier is necessary.

For example, “new innovation” is a redundant phrase: “innovation” is a new thing, so you get a “new new thing.” An expression “the following list below” is also a redundant phrase: “below” designates something that follows what you have already written.

The most common redundant phrases

There are several types of redundant phrases, each built according to a specific pattern. If you manage to remember these patterns with examples, it will be easier to avoid repetition.

#1. An adjective that repeats the meaning of a described word: close proximity, end result, final destination, free gift, actual fact, added bonus, sequential order, uphill climb, vitally important, slight hint, etc.

Incorrect: She was curious about the final outcome of their actions.

Correct: She was curious about the outcome of their actions.

#2. An adverb that repeats the meaning of a described verb: first discovered, reverted back, join together, meld together, orbit around, plan ahead, proceed further, reserve ahead of time, repeat again, etc.

Incorrect: Children returned back from a school trip.

Correct: Children returned from a school trip.

#3. Several words with identical meaning: software programs, up until, while at the same time, various different, whole entire, but nevertheless, the reason is because, most quintessential, manually by hand, twelve at midnight, etc. These phrases consist of the same or different parts of speech and completely duplicate their meanings. There is a specific term for these redundancies — pleonasm.

Incorrect: Software and computer programs are exactly the same things.

Correct: Software and computer programs are the same things.

#4. Seemingly helpful phrases without overtone: well, actu­ally, truth­fully, really, quite, basi­cally, rather, kind of, need­less to say, in my opin­ion, etc. People use these phrases with an intention to clarify the message or link clauses, make the writing sound friendly, informal, more personal, but they don’t have value for the text.

There’s no need to write “I think” in your essay; avoid redundancy — you are the author, professors will understand that the ideas expressed in it are what you think.

How to avoid redundant phrases: main rules

Check the text for double negatives. Don’t use “do not,” “cannot,” “have not” with pronouns “no one,” “nobody,” “nothing,” adverbs “nowhere,” “never,” conjunctions “neither… nor.”

Be careful with abbreviations. Don’t repeat the word denoted by one of the letters. Don’t write “ATM machine” — letter “M” stands for “machine.” The same is with the CMS system, HIV virus, CEO officer, etc.

Avoid pleonasm. When you write about the time in English, use either “p.m.” or “in the evening” with hours. Remember that “autobiography” is a story of your life and don’t call it “my autobiography” or “autobiography of my life.”

Use intensifiers appropriately. You rarely need “very,” “extremely,” “especially,” “even” to highlight the modified part of a phrase. Try choosing a more expressive adjective or adverb instead of creating another redundant example.

Remove unnecessary phrases. “First and foremost,” “in my opinion,” “actually,” “it is common knowledge” — when you use redundant phrases in a sentence, you don’t make them more important, only longer (and sometimes more difficult to understand).

Look up a word in a dictionary. When you want to use a borrowed word, check its origin or meaning. For example, people who know that dilemma means a situation in which a difficult choice has to be made” don’t write about “difficult dilemmas.”

Shorten the text. Leave out words and phrases that are redundant in a sentence and don’t change its meaning when removed. If you use redundant words to reach a required word limit, find several important facts instead.

Use tools for an online check. Double-check is always a good idea. Open RobotDon, paste your text and wait a few seconds to see the result. The information on redundant phrases is included in the report.

How redundant phrases checking is connected to RobotDon tool

RobotDon is an essay checker used for detecting plagiarized parts of a paper and predicting a grade. Plagiarism check, however, isn’t the only helpful feature. Users can also:

  • find spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes;
  • analyze the readability score and fix reading convenience;
  • see redundant phrases and misused parts of speech;
  • view suggestions for replacement;
  • get rid of repetitive words;
  • get tips and tricks on paper editing.

Redundant phrases are on a list of things RobotDon checks and helps to correct. This is AI software which can easily find all the mistakes you might have missed. If you feel that rewriting a paper is too much, you can ask editors to improve your essay by leaving a request on RobotDon page.

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