When you’re writing an essay, the point is typically to sound smart while proving your arguments. But sometimes, in an effort to come across intelligently, writers take a deep dive into redundancy! Paying a little extra attention to the words you use can make a big difference in creating a polished essay.
Take a more critical look at your writing to find unnecessary words. Often the phrasing will sound natural at first, but once you pause and think about it, you’ll realize you’re using more words than needed. Here are a couple of examples:
The word currently is often unnecessary or redundant. Similar offenders are right now, at this point, at the moment, or even just now. These phrases are often part of a sentence that’s already written in present tense. For example,
“At this moment, the U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether it will hear the appeal.”
“Right now, there is currently no wait-list for the program.”
Another example of redundancy is the phrase joined together. One word already means something the other word is reinforcing. In this case, just joining does the job, as it implies two or more things are coming together—making the word together unnecessary.
Similar instances are falling down and safe haven. Once you start looking for these, you may find it hard to stop; they are everywhere. Even your lunch may be redundant … tuna fish, anyone?
This doesn’t mean repetitive words are never useful. When used appropriately, they can act as a way to emphasize a point, prevent misunderstanding, or convey a particular style. But there’s a difference between making a choice for stylistic or content reasons and overusing words because you haven’t thought through their meaning.
Lora Wegman is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.
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