- Redundancies -
Clear writing is achieved after redundancies are removed. There is an art to using just the right number of words. When we succeed at that art, our sentences are free of words that obscure our ideas and mislead the reader. Watch for the common errors shown below:
At Alton, they spent a time of four hours a the last lock on the river.
At Alton, they spent four hours a the last lock on the river.
Bob had made the same trip three times during the period from 1980 to 1990.
Bob had made the same trip three times from 1980 to 1990.
After the rain, the water rose for a duration of six hours.
After the rain, the water rose for six hours.
Evelyn will tether the canoe so that in the future it won't float away.
Evelyn will tether the canoe so that it won't float away.
A loud honk warned them in advance that a towboat was approaching.
A loud honk warned them that a towboat was approaching.
Note how the sentences became shorter and more vigorous. By removing deadwood we make our sentences more readable. We avoid dulling the impact of the message, and we keep the reader's interest.
Also note that deleting words can sometimes leave ambiguity in the meaning of the sentence. In this case leave the words in for clarity.