Magazine article Policy & Practice

Repetitive Reiteration

Magazine article Policy & Practice

Repetitive Reiteration

Article excerpt

Most writers stutter in rough drafts because they start off by writing as they talk, using redundancies in abundance like radio and television advertising copy. Our vocabulary is full of "personal" friend, "future" planning, "completely" destroyed, "old" adage and the like. Oral English, our mother tongue, its spoken words wafting by irretrievably, needs much repetition because the words don't stay and the listener might not hear them or forget them as soon as they are said. Say it twice and your listener has a better chance of catching it. Thus you hear the catch phrases and words repeated (again and again) on TV and radio ads. Think car ads.

Writing the same phrases and words twice? You will usually look foolish.

To look for redundancies, examine verbs and think direction: up and down, in and out. Verbs, being action words, often tell their own general direction. Any that you add are often too much. Below are some examples:

The dancer spun around.

The leaves twirled around in rustling spirals.

These also contain around: rotate, revolve, gyrate, pirouette, circle, swirl, skirt.

Check ups and aboves.

The balloon soared into the clouds above.

He scaled the snow-covered peak above him.

They will ascend up in the Navy's new rocket.

He scaled up the building like a human fly.

He headed up the committee.

The platoon advanced up (or forward) half a mile.

Mounted up on the white horse, she ...

Also, zoom, levitate, fill, eat.

Check downs and belows.

The astronauts are descending down over land.

The plane plummeted to the ground below.

The baby fell to the balcony below.

The tanker sank down to the bottom without a trace.

She was well-known for diving down to great depths.

He dismounted down from the injured horse.

The hemlines dip down on both sides.

None of these need down: dig, sink, droop, sag, swoop, plummet, drink, gulp.

Check back.

The district attorney referred back to his notes. …

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