Redundancy is the unnecessary repetition of an idea. For example, saying “a beginner lacking experience” is redundant. The word beginner implies lack of experience. You can eliminate redundant words or phrases without changing the meaning of the sentence. Watch out for words that add nothing to the sense of the sentence, because redundancy takes away from the clarity and conviction of a statement.

Here are some common redundancies:

Redundant PhraseConcise Phrase
1. refer back to
2. Few in number few
3. Small-sized small
4. Grouped together grouped
5. In my own personal opinion in my opinion
6. End result result
7. Serious crisis crisis
8. New initiatives initiatives

Redundancy often results from carelessness, but you may easily eliminate redundant elements when proofreading.

Exercise: Proofread these sentences for redundancy:

Drill #1.
Those who can follow directions are few in number.


Answer. Few people can follow directions.

Drill #2. She has deliberately chosen to change careers.


Answer. She has chosen to change careers.

Drill #3. Dialogue opens up many doors to compromise.


Answer. Dialogue opens many doors to compromise.

Drill #4. The ultimate conclusion is that environmental and economic concerns are intertwined.


Answer. The conclusion is that environmental and economic concerns are intertwined.

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