Saturday, June 13, 2009

Avoiding redundancy (3)

In two previous posts (1), (2), about avoiding redundancy, I showed and edited real-world examples of redundancy. I explained why and how you should avoid redundancy.

Today I received a vague, rambling letter from Jon Butler (photo), Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Yale University. Dean Butler's letter contains a lot of redundancies; here is one:

“...shrinking funding sources have called into question our ability to sustain the forward progress of the sciences and social sciences.” (Boldface added.)

By definition, progress is forward movement.

The Takeaway: Remember, every redundancy impedes your reader. He has to stop for a few seconds and wonder, “Is this a redundancy? If not, why did the writer include this word?” The effect is cumulative; use enough redundancies and your copy will irritate all but the dullest readers. So, always try to avoid redundancy.

Avoiding redundancy (1)
Avoiding redundancy (2)

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