Even if you aren’t a professional writer, you probably do some writing in your job every day: You might write proposals, plans, outlines, or dozens of e-mails. We aren’t all grammar gurus or word masters, but we can learn tips along the way to make our writing clearer and more purposeful. It may be just an e-mail, but we want the person on the other end to read and understand it.
On Ragan.com, Mickie Kennedy posted “20 Redundant Phrases to Eliminate from Your Writing.” These are phrases everyone learned somewhere along the way, not realizing at first glance that they’re actually repetitive. In some cases, people use them because they sound smart and authoritative — they’re tricky that way! Here’s just a few examples of the phrases Kennedy suggests you avoid:
- “Advance notice. When you give notice for something, you’re doing so in advance of the event taking place. Just use the word ‘notice.’”
- “Collaborate together. You see this one a lot in press releases announcing partnerships or mergers. When you collaborate, you’re working with others. The word ‘together’ is redundant.”
- “End result. By definition, the result of something takes place at the end. Cut the word ‘end.’”
- “Major breakthrough. This is another one you see in press releases and marketing materials. A breakthrough is something that provides a significant or sudden advance or development. Adding the word ‘major’ is unnecessary.”
- “Past history. All history is in the past.”
- “Unintended mistake. If you intended for something to happen, it wasn’t a mistake; it was a poor decision.”
If you’re guilty of using some of these, don’t worry — you’re not the only one. These aren’t glaring errors, but if you eliminate redundant phrases, you cut down your message to the essentials. With how quickly people read e-mails and articles today, the less unneeded words you have, the better. You’ll benefit from getting your message across quickly and clearly.
Check out the rest of Kennedy’s redundant phrases, and be sure to watch for them in your writing.