Any editor worth his/her salt will spend countless hours eliminating unnecessary verbiage. One of the biggest weeds in the literary garden we attempt to hoe as writers is redundancy. If you are guarding a large shipment of gold or money, you should have redundancy at all levels. Unnecessary redundancy, though, is as welcome as a third nipple. It would appear to be common knowledge that, for clarity and emphasis, concise and precise words will get the job done better and faster than the bloated baggage that passes for writing now. And yet, the redundancy continues.
Every day, we’re confronted with a superfluity of words, often in advertising. The bane of my existence is the ubiquitous FREE GIFT. How many kinds of stupid do you have to be to think this is acceptable English? If it’s free, it’s a gift and vice versa. That is in the same realm as TRUE FACTS, PAST EXPERIENCE, PERSONAL FRIEND, and MUTUAL COOPERATION. Saying the same thing twice does not make it better or truer. There are Truths and truths, but a fact is always true; only its use or interpretation may be subject to question. No matter how you dress it up, a lie is always a lie.
I can be MODEST ABOUT MYSELF, for it’s impossible for me to be modest about someone else. If I am optimistic, I need not add ABOUT THE FUTURE, since one is seldom optimistic about the past. If you nod in agreement with me, don’t tell me that you’re NODDING YOUR HEAD. I’m almost 100% sure that you can’t nod any other portion of your anatomy. Please let me know if there are NEW DEVELOPMENTS in that area and we can set a NEW RECORD.
I am hereby giving you PRIOR NOTICE to notice the notice that I gave you on a prior occasion… And that sets a NEW RECORD for redundant idiocy. And, please, stop telling readers that THE REASON IS BECAUSE. That’s not acceptable. It should be THE REASON IS… And stop further abuse of the language by adding other words, such as “What he meant to say IS THAT THAT he doesn’t like you.” Too many THAT’s show no THOUGHT!
The GENERAL PUBLIC may SKIRT AROUND the WALL MURAL, but the END RESULT is the same—you are boring the bejeesus out of the reader. I hear or read these superfluous weeds constantly, and I’m going out of my mind with the lack of brain matter on the part of speakers and writers. I do not silently correct your grammar if you speak to me at a party, but if you’re being paid to speak or write for a living, you owe the audience the respect shown by trimming these writing scabs.
I once threatened to charge students for excess verbiage like the airlines do for excess baggage and it was an effective way to grab their attention. Just think how rich I would be if every person who used redundant language had to pay me a fiver for each use? I apologize for the snarky tone of this post, but being snarky keeps me from STRANGLING PEOPLE TO DEATH.
©2015 Linda L Labin, PhD (except images)