Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Are Your Phrases Redundant?

When I worked for the phone company, redundancies were a good thing. Not in spoken or written communication, but in our central office switching equipment. One goes down, the redundant one kicks in and takes over. Kind of like a battery back-up. Okay, I was a trainer, not a switching guru, but you get the drift.

In writing, redundancies are a no-no. Was that redundant? I just finished editing Chapter 10 of my novel, and I ran into a couple of places where I repeated myself--completely engulfed in flames. Ummmm. If it's engulfed, then it is completely in flames. but I made a note to go back through my previous chapters and look for phrases where I repeated myself.

Then I found this article by Richard Nordquist on About.com . He points out that sometimes it might be okay to be repetitious in order to clarify a point. For the most part, redundant phrases just bog down the story. And the best part--he included a list of common expressions. I love that. Usually you get one or two examples, but he has an alphabetized listing. I printed that sucker and taped it to my credenza.

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