Published: 09th October 2020
Because redundant expressions in English are not needed really. Get it?
Whether while writing or speaking, knowing what redundant expressions are and how to avoid them becomes a very important part of learning how to communicate your thoughts in a correct manner
Interviewer: Could you mention two of your strengths?
Candidate: Rarely do I make mistakes. When I make mistakes, I have the ability to correct them. Interviewer: Good. Mention two of your weaknesses.
Candidate: I use redundant expressions. I repeat the same mistakes again and again each and every time.
A redundant expression is a group of two or more words that repeat the same idea. Here are examples of redundant expressions: brief summary, repeat again, return back, current trend, few in number, absolutely essential, twelve noon, twelve midnight. One word in each of the phrases is unnecessary. For example, ‘brief summary’ is a redundant expression as the word ‘brief’ repeats the meaning of the word ‘summary’.
The other term for redundancy is ‘pleonasm’. Look at this example. In the sentence “We will meet at 7 am in the morning”, both ‘am’ and ‘in the morning’ have the same meaning. It is good to delete either of the phrases to make the sentence more readable. Here is another example: “I’m sure he is the one who stole my pen. I saw him stealing it with my own eyes.” In the second sentence, the phrase ‘with my own eyes’ is redundant as ‘see’ means to notice something using one’s eyes.
Learners of English should know what redundancy is and why they should avoid it while speaking and writing. If learners do not understand the meaning of the words in redundant expressions, they may continue to use them while speaking and writing. Some erroneously justify using redundant expressions as they think redundancies are used for emphasis. Redundancy kills readability and harms beauty in a piece of writing. It is good to follow George Orwell’s advice: “If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.”
Look at these sentences:
- What was the final outcome of the meeting?
- Will I get my added bonus by the end of this month?
- Each and every member should present their proposal at the meeting.
- We will decide whether to have the programme based on the general consensus of opinion among the teachers.
In the sentences above, the phrases in bold are redundant expressions. To make the sentences more readable, the words ‘final’ in ‘final outcome’, ‘added’ in ‘added bonus’, ‘general’ and ‘of opinion’ in ‘general consensus of opinion’, ‘each’ or ‘every’ in ‘each and every’. As the word ‘bonus’ means something additional, ‘additional’ is unnecessary. Similarly, a consensus is a general agreement among a group of people and therefore, the phrases ‘general’ and ‘of opinion’ in ‘consensus of opinion’ are unnecessary.
Here is a list of common redundant expressions that we should avoid using while writing: actual fact, blatantly obvious, collaborate together, free gift, future plans, historic milestone, join together, prior experience, proceed further, various different, vitally important, whether or not
Smoking kills. If you’re killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life — Brooke Shields