50 Redundant Phrases Writers Should Avoid

This whole article feels redundant to us, but that doesn’t keep it from being necessary:


by Mark Nichol

We get the point; no need to say it twice. Eliminate duplication for concise writing.

In conversation, it’s easy in the midst of spontaneous speech to succumb to verbosity and duplication. In writing, redundancy is less forgivable but fortunately easy to rectify. Watch for these usual suspects:

1. Absolutely certain or sure/essential/guaranteed: Someone who is certain or sure is already without doubt. Something that is essential is intrinsically absolute. A guarantee is by nature absolute (or should be). Abandonabsolutely in such usage.

2. Actual experience/fact: An experience is something that occurred (unless otherwise indicated). A fact is something confirmed to have happened. Actual is extraneous in these instances.

3. Add an additional: To add is to provide another of something. Additional is extraneous.

4. Added bonus: A bonus is an extra feature, so added is redundant.

5. Advance notice/planning/reservations/warning: Notices, planning, reservations, and warnings are all, by their nature, actions that occur before some event, so qualifying such terms withadvance is superfluous.

6. As for example: As implies that an example is being provided, so omit for example.

7. Ask a question: To ask is to pose a question, so a question is redundant.

8. At the present time: At present means “at this time,” so avoid the verbose version.

9. Basic fundamentals/essentials: Fundamentals and essentials are by their nature elementary, so remove basic from each phrase.

10. (Filled to) capacity: Something filled is done so to capacity, so describing something as filled to capacity is repetitive.

11. Came at a time when: When provides the necessary temporal reference to the action of coming; at a time is redundant.

12. Close proximity/scrutiny: Proximity means “close in location,” and scrutiny means “close study,” so avoid qualifying these terms with close.

13. Collaborate/join/meet/merge together: If you write of a group that collaborates or meets together, you imply that there’s another way to collect or confer. To speak of joining or merging together is, likewise, redundant.

14. Completely filled/finished/opposite: Something that is filled or finished is thoroughly so;completely is redundant. Something that is opposite isn’t necessarily diametrically opposed, especially in qualitative connotations, but the modifier is still extraneous.

15. Consensus of opinion: A consensus is an agreement but not necessarily one about an opinion, so consensus of opinion is not purely redundant, but the phrase of opinion is usually unnecessary.

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Our favorite part of this article is the opening: “We get the point; no need to say it twice. Eliminate duplication for concise writing.” Because, you know, it shows such a great sense of humor, by saying everything, um, twice.