Pleonasm pandemic: a plague of extra words

Copywriters write short and sweet. We say it like it is. We know you don’t have time to spend reading words that don’t need to be there.

This is a rant about one of my pet hates – pleonasms. Sounds like a disease and it could be, because pleonasms have long been a pandemic in writing. Pleonasms are extra, unnecessary words.

Let’s explore some common blighters.

  • “He had to milk the cow in order to get the milk”.
    How about, “He had to milk the cow to get the milk.”
  • “It was a very large banana.”
    Or perhaps it was just a large banana. Or an enormous banana. Very … should it even be a word?
  • “It was absolutely necessary to remove the cancer before it spread.”
    If we ditch absolutely, it’s still necessary to remove the cancer – that’s an absolute.
  • “He was both attracted and repelled by her.”
    Remove ‘both’ and she remains attractive and repellant at the same time. Maybe she’s just a train wreck?

Surely the most used word in the English language deserves a rest whenever possible. Check out my first para – I could have written, “We know you don’t have the time to spend reading words that don’t need to be there.” But I didn’t.

Review your writing and delete extra words that don’t add value, or replace multiple words with a single word that communicates the right meaning. Help end the pleonasm pandemic.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: