Say it again ... and again

When I teach a writing class, I usually suggest to my students that they use a redundancy filter. This is not part of their computer, but a read-through looking for things that are intended to emphasize something through repetition.

If they are used incorrectly, they diminish the impact, and make the writer look less reliable.

Consider “unique.” By definition, it stands alone. Something cannot be “very unique” or “the most unique.”

Or “first.” What does “first ever” do that “first” doesn’t do alone? By definition, first is first. Similarly, you wouldn’t have a “first annual” barn dance, since you don’t know at that point if there will be a second year.

Along the same lines: “The renovations were initially begun in May.” Why would you need “initially”?

A redundancy filter will make your writing leaner and cleaner.

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