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Wordstock : Cut the Clutter

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Talking of quirks that mark the English language, one can hardly miss pleonasms and redundancies.  as in In English usage, redundancy involves the use of two or more words that mean the same thing as in, free gifts, early beginnings, added bonus, blend together, critical juncture, last and final,critically important,and the like. Using more words than necessary to make a point is considered word overflow. Whether in speech or writing, users are often guilty of employing repetitious words and expressions. While speakers may be reasonably pardoned for wordiness or duplication, redundancy is an anathema for writers. Editing a piece of writing is, therefore, crucial to eliminate such pleonasms or redundancies therein, before the same is up for publishing. Nonetheless, it goes without saying that speaking crisp, clear andconcise sentences is a workmanship of the well-spoken.

‘Pleonasm’derived from the Greek ‘pleon’ meaning excessive or abundant, refers to words that add no extra meaning to a sentence and are verily unnecessary. Redundancy or word overflow is particularly unpardonable in writing but is easy to fix if one steers clear of expressions like free gifts, end result, hot water heater, first began, revert back and so on. Such expressions are uncalled for and primarily dispensable as they end up cluttering the language. To clean up one needs to get rid of long-winded, pointless phrasings and adopt leaner versions.

In the following content, check out some common redundancies that lace our expressions and be ready to snip them off the next time you find them latching onto your tongue or writing:

How often do you come across stores that tempt you with free gifts? If you hear that again,ask the user if gifts are worth being gifts unless they are free. Shouldn’t you call them gifts?

Planning is a scheme or an arrangement contemplated in advance, and so, it sounds silly to hear of advance planning.

Isn’t a predicament clearly an unpleasantly difficult situation? Accordingly, the awkward in an awkward predicament is baggage that ought to be shed.

The same goes for 12 midnight or 12 noon. Aren’t they just midnight or noon?

If proximity and close mean the same,shouldn’t one say proximity and not close proximity?

Similarly, a bonus is an addition over the actual; an added bonus is plain redundant.

The next time you come across a past experience, ponder upon the fact that if an experience is necessarily a thing of the past, doesn’t experience deserve to be independent of past?

Remember, you don’t ever make an advance warning as warning intrinsically comes in advance.

If classification implies assigning to groups, why do we hear classify into groups? Doesn’t classify serve the purpose?

Upon scrutiny or closer look you may find flaws in this piece. But, close scrutiny? That sounds absurd!

As a deduction, you don’t need to revert back. Since, revert implies returning to a former practice or condition, the word does not need the appendage.

A project is not a joint collaboration but collaboration. Likewise, cooperation is sufficient. Mutual cooperation is wordy.

Import, by definition, is to bring in merchandise, commodities, etc. from a foreign land. Hence, foreign imports is as redundant as armed gunman, past history, desirable/favorable benefits and my personal opinion.

Correspondingly, if to protest is to communicate opposition, protest against has no reason to exist.

Usual custom, unexpected surprise, rough estimate, major breakthrough, and final outcome are welcome in their base forms. The adjectives or descriptors make them superfluous.

Likewise, there is no direct confrontation, as confrontation by itself suggests head-on conflict. In the same degree, pretense implies deception, but false pretense is a surplus phrase.

An adage is a traditional saying or expression; the old adage is clearly expendable.

Also, bear in mind that there is none with a very unique voice, but there are quite a few with unique voices.

Surprises are fundamentally  unexpected. And that explains why you mustn’t expect unexpected surprises or unintended errors.

The girl’s disappearance - does that still remain a mystery? I suppose that remains one.

Well, well…idiosyncrasies in English aren’t few in number and if you find this piece over exaggerated, just consider it a passing fad coz now you’d agree there is no past history of the local resident that couldn’t find the LCD display on an ATM machine and ended up contracting the HIV virus. Phew!

Sure you didn’t get that gibberish. That’s okay. You don’t need to throw a temper tantrum for that. Just drop the deadwood, and whenever you’re writing, keep in mind George Orwell’s words: ‘If it is possible to cut a word out, alwayscut it out’.

Now that we bond together, I’d love to hear about pleonasms and overused clichés that bother you. Do share your thoughts in the comments thread.

Until next time!


About  the column :  I am no literary scholar, neither a linguist nor a grammarian, but one amongst you, who uses everyday English. It is my love for the language that enables me to observe keenly the trends in modern English. My column WordStock is an attempt to document the visible communication pattern and trends in the English language that we use as a tool to express, connect and correspond. No highbrowed, scholarly stuff but some salient peculiarities and quirks that mark regular expressions. It is all in good humor, about you and me, and the varied ingredients that constitute our language. So, stay on, enjoy the vignettes, and feel free to share your views.

About the Author :  The fragments that make up the world, its people and the impression they leave on her, prompts Ruby to share with you bits and pieces that you may find interesting or informative or both. Her reflections are a mosaic of personal and shared flavors. The content varies, but they're all about people-people like you and me, our footprints and her impressions, our pictures and her albums. She invites you to dip into her flavors, though you have the right to relish or refuse. Should you decide to scratch the surface, agree to disagree with her, but a thumbs up now and then won't hurt!

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Very nice blog Wordstock:cut the clutter

Well substantiated and logical.
But we are so much used to such combo of words, without which, the listner/reader may not understand well.
Very well written. Appreciations!!!

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