This tip ties in with tip #1: Be concise. It’s such an important tip that it’s worth elaborating on. Most of us use redundant words without noticing. As you revise your work, look at every word and ask yourself: is it necessary? Does it benefit the sentence?
Consider phrases like ‘for a long period of time’ and ‘at this point in time’. Rephrasing them as ‘for a long time’ and ‘now’ respectively will likely make your point more elegantly. And what about ‘reversed back’, ‘advance planning’ and ‘global pandemic’?
This brings me to the current fad of throwing ‘moving forward’ or ‘going forward’ into every second sentence. This is done more often in speaking than in writing, but it’s enough of a crime against language for me to feel it merits mentioning here. Unless you’re talking about literal movement – say, in a car, where the distinction between forwards and backwards is important – those phrases are almost always redundant. I’ve not yet found a sentence that benefitted from their inclusion.
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About this blog
Through my experience as an editor, a reader and a book reviewer, I’ve noticed that some writing faults keep just popping up again and again. As an author, I’m especially aware of those writing crimes that I’m frequently tempted to commit myself. This series of brief tips addresses the common writing problems that I’ve encountered. Following them will help make your writing clear, accurate and stylish.