You know what really irks writing snobs like me? Redundancy… repeating yourself… saying things over and over again… oh. Sorry.
If it grinds my gears, I’m sure it doesn’t give you a warm and fuzzy feeling either. So what are some things to keep in mind to avoid this travesty of the written form? Let’s take a look at some thoughts I have on the topic.
Read your Work Carefully
Hey. I’m as guilty as anyone of rushing, and it’s when I do that I make the most mistakes. But every time I print out my work and read it over, I always find things to correct – especially word redundancy. So take the time to go over your communication after you’ve written it. Don’t assume it’s perfect. Deadlines are real and they’re stressful, but rushing to meet them without paying close attention to detail makes all your work for naught. Print. Read. Scrutinize.
Pay Attention to the Same Word in Consecutive Sentences
I wish I had a dime for every time I used the same word in consecutive sentences. I would give up this blog and enjoy life on Martha’s Vineyard. It seems so intuitive that if you used a noun or adjective in one sentence, you’d mix it up automatically in the next sentence and use an alternative phrase. But easy is always the default path for humans. So pay close attention during your proofreading and make sure you’re not using the same word in consecutive sentences.
Use your Thesaurus
It’s quite surprising to me how often people ignore the benefits of technology. Whether it’s Google, Thesaurus.com, or the thesaurus tool in Microsoft Word, people tend to ignore the vast, powerful, and convenient tools available to them at their fingertips. Writers shouldn’t follow this trend. Make good use of the interwebz and make your communication diverse in vocabulary.
When proofreading, if you suspect you’ve used a word more than a few times, use the CTRL+F (Find) tool in Microsoft Word to find out exactly how often you might or might not have used a word or phrase. Sometimes scanning with our eyes doesn’t do the trick; we need a technological back-up to help out. The Find tool will search your word/phrase quickly and give you an overall view of its usage.
How do you avoid redundancy? Is there a secret you have to ensuring you’re not using the same words over and over again? Let us know in the Comment section below!
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