Get Rid of Repetition: Pleonasms in Your Writing

I’m snowed under with work just now, so sharing some of the great writing posts from my inbox – and this is one of them!

A Writer's Path

Demons

Did you know that when you use more words than necessary to express something (like blowing wind or frozen ice), you are committing a pleonasm, which is the fancy Greek way of saying you’re being redundant? Redundancy in writing sounds like a simple thing to spot—and sometimes it is. But some types of redundancy can be tricky to identify, and that’s because we tend to speak in expressions in English, so redundant phrases become little package deals, like a true fact or a free gift. (I hate to break it to you, but if it’s not free, you’re doing gifts wrong.)

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7 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing. Heading over to read the whole post next. I’m guilty of using a few expressions like this, only never knew there was a name. For instance, I’ll write: He shrugged his shoulders,” and my clever, sharp-eyed editor will comment, “As opposed to what? His knees?” Thank goodness I have her! 🙂

    1. LOL – so easy to do, isn’t it? All these phrases become such a part of common speech we become ‘blind’ to their redundancy.
      I never knew it had a name either, before this.

  2. Good to know about the name for these sins we’ve all committed. 🙂

    1. Isn’t it just? I would never have suspected there was a name for it, but I guess there’s a name from pretty much anything if you care to seek it out.

      1. Okay if I use this for my classes, Deborah? It’s brilliant! Thanks

      2. It’s fine by me, Judith, though obviously as a reblog, it’s someone else’s property and you might want to seek permission there.

      3. Thanks, will do J x

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