A song title like "Monday, Monday" brings to mind one aspect of writing that most writers try to avoid: redundancy. Of course the Mamas and the Papas use of redundancy was probably for emphasis, which is appropriate. Another appropriate use is irony, as in William Safire's advice for writers: "Never, ever use repetitive redundancies!" He might have rephrased it as, "Don't be redundant, repeat yourself, and say things over and over again."
Sometimes redundancy can be humorous as in the famous quote by Samuel Goldwyn: "Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined."
Despite these exceptions, it's a good idea for most writers to visit The Department of Redundancy Department for a refresher course on watching out for redundancy and tautology. Here is another example of irony since tautology is the Greek term for redundancy.
Careless repetition is a common error that produces wordy and awkward writing. Since one of the basic principles of good writing is to make every word count, eliminate any unnecessary words.
For example, notice the wordy, redundant phrases in the following sentence:
Past experience teaches us that if we continue to persevere our future plans will come true.
Eliminating the redundancies makes the sentence more clear and more concise:
Experience teaches us that if we persevere our plans will come true.
Below are examples of redundant expressions:
- absolute necessity
- add on to
- advanced planning
- basic fundamentals
- blue in color
- combine together
- complete stop
- few in number
- future plans
- join together
- meet up with
- merge together
- new innovation
- new recruit
- one and only
- orbit around
- pair of twins
- the reason is because
- surrounded on all sides
- visible to the eye
Go through each redundant phrase above, and cross out any words that make it redundant.
Quote of the Day: It's deja vu all over again. --Yogi Berra
Answers (The words that should be remaining after you have crossed out the unnecessary words): 1. necessity 2. add 3. planning 4. basic 5. blue 6. combine 7. stop 8. few 9. plans 10. join 11. meet 12. merge 13. innovation 14. recruit 15. only 16. orbit 17. twins 18. because 19. surround 20. visible