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Sunday, October 5, 2008

They're sneaky little devils

Redundancies are often subtle. Very often they simply carry over from our patterns of speech. But part of a writer's job is to be conscious of how he or she is using words and whether clutter is getting in the way of making the message in the text clear. Here's a redundancy at the very end of an article for new mothers that I was editing yesterday evening:

"Most likely, the women in your life have had those same questions, too."

Now on first reading, that doesn't seem so bad, and it sounds almost right. But it is the end of the article, and the writer wants to leave the reader with a strong impression. Now, read the sentence without the "too."


  1. I do this ALL the time. I like your site because when you raise these issues I can review my current post and change. I always was a hopeless editor - it really is a precious skill - attention to detail. Thanks for that reminder!

    Is there a difference between the internet and paper mediums? I find that because emails are a more relaxed method of communication (mostly) I find I write my posts in a similar way. One sentence paragraphs. One word sentences.

  2. Yes, this is something I often find myself doing, alot! :)

    Peace - Rene

  3. Lilly,
    I definitely think there is a difference between print and electronic media -- mainly in the way people read them. But I think care with the language is equally important in both. I think your posts are extremely well written, by the way. I'm glad you find my posts useful.

    I loved your response, Rene.

  4. You nailed it! Guilty as charged.