I’ve decided to address redundancy because redundancies are repetitive and involve ideas that are repeated over and over in lengthy sentences full of A LOT OF WORDS that look like really long and wordy sentences like this one.

The idea to address redundancy came from my friend The Rivendell Musician (and also reminded me of one of the villains from the PBSkids show, WordGirl – Lady Redundant Woman LOL). Redundancy is a problem I’ve seen occasionally when I read. Some of the reasons could be that the author feels he/she is under-emphasizing something, or it could just be that he/she doesn’t realize that something is overemphasized. Whatever the case may be, I often find that out of all the redundancies I’ve seen, the main problem is that the idea is not conveyed clearly enough the first time.

WordGirl taught me a lot of my big words, and redundant was one of them. Enjoy the battle scene with Lady Redundant Woman!

Here’s a small tip I like to use. Take one paragraph that presents a single idea. Take the phrase that represents the idea, and count up how many times that phrase, or even a slight variation of it, has come up in that paragraph alone. If only once, good for you! Your sentences are pretty clear to understand, so you don’t have to repeat anything. If twice, you might want to clear up a little clutter that may make your meaning unclear. If three or more of the same phrase appears in the same paragraph, chances are you’ve emphasized it too much and/or your sentences aren’t getting your point across.

Why is overemphasis bad? Well, anything in excess is bad, and there’s a reason it’s called too much. Overemphasis in particular can annoy the reader because the writing becomes repetitive and tedious to read. You wouldn’t want to read something that’s going in circles, now, would you?

What’s more, there’s that little problem of sentence clarity. This was brought to my attention a little while ago by my reading/writing teacher, who addressed how wordiness would make the sentence ugly. Try to be clear and concise, and avoid awkward wording. How? After you write something, go back and read it aloud (or in your head works too, as long as you can “hear” what you’re “saying”). If it makes sense, great! Ask someone else to read it too, if you can, and see if they can grasp your meaning. If neither you nor your friend can understand what the sentence actually means, maybe you should reword it.

Just to finish off, here’s a passage I wrote that demonstrates redundancy:

Pets are essential and vital to everyday society because they are really important to people’s lives and they are integral when it comes to day-to-day activities. Pets help people be happy, have fun, and enjoy life. For example, cats and dogs are really important to their owners. People who own pets say that they have a lot of fun with their pets. They say that pets help them enjoy their lives.

Basically, all that this is saying is that pets are important to everyday life because they serve as joyful companions for people. So maybe some redundancies aren’t as bad, but they are still a mouthful to read/say.

More examples of sentence redundancy (credit to my 7th grade R/W teacher):

The chair was small in size.

The dress was red in color.

Sara had a lengthy guest list for the party that included a lot of people.

Just keep avoiding those repetitive redundancies!