Redundancy 101

File:Quill (PSF) vector.svgLet’s take a look at redundancy in writing, shall we? One of the main rules formulated for scribing literature was to do so with the least amount of words. The reason was to minimize the cost for printing, which was prohibitive, especially in the early days of the printing press.

Prior to that, transcribing literary works by pen and ink took a long time, and excess wordage was eliminated to speed up the process. That’s when a good editor was worth his weight in gold.

Now, with word processors, infinite blogs and websites dedicated to instructing and entertaining the masses; self-publishing, and comments entered by know-it-alls after almost every article on the Internet that allows them, people are left to their own devices, sentence structures, grammar, spelling and punctuation. It’s horrible and destroying the English language.

How many times have I wanted to correct someone’s errors in relation to usage of the words: to, too, their, there, they’re, your and you’re, without seeming uppity, condescending, or belonging to the grammar police?

However, not everyone is a trained writer who was taught the fundamentals of the craft in college; or maybe they hated English class in high school and haven’t learned to watch out for making those mistakes. This triviality drives me nuts.

As an author who’s a neurotic too, not happy unless there is something to complain about, watching every one of their p’s and q’s in a tirade they’re about to publish in a weekly blog, I feel justified in pointing out your grammatical faux pas that you’re making habitually; so please be careful in the future. My sanity depends on it. Thanks in advance.

Getting back to redundancy, adverbs in many cases are unnecessary. Take, for instance, the following examples:

“I literally told him off.” Here the adverb “literally” is redundant. Why can’t the person just say, “I told them off”? I suppose the intent is for self-important emphasis.

“I personally know the mayor of our town.” This is another case of unnecessary usage. Just say, “I know the mayor,” and be done with it.

“I want to thank each and every one of you.” The preceding redundancy is a favorite pet peeve. Why use “each and every” together in the same sentence? Just one of them is enough.

“I honestly said, ‘Are you crazy?'” By their using the adverb honestly in this example makes me think that everything else that person says is a lie.

My ultimate complaint lately is from reading articles on the Net that quote tweets from Twitter. Everything is backed up by Social Media commentary nowadays. What bothers me is when the author explains the content of a tweet verbatim in the body of their essay, and then follows it up word-for-word by the actual tweet.

As an example of this, an article on Yahoo News wrote about the latest viral craze called, “Unicorn Toast.”

Unicorn toast is made by dyeing cream cheese using natural dyes such as beetroot and turmeric and then spreading artfully on toast. Its creator, Adeline Waugh, often tops it with sprinkles and sometimes gold leaf (pictured)

Quoting from the article featured on DailyMail.com:

Unicorn toast is made by dyeing cream cheese using natural dyes such as beetroot and turmeric and then spreading artfully on toast. Its creator, Adeline Waugh, often tops it with sprinkles and sometimes gold leaf.

The author wrote in her composition that a twitter user, @karnacan, tweeted, “Honestly, unicorn toast sounds like something you make for spoiled hell brats and I can’t abide by that.”

Then, her description was followed by the actual tweet:

What a waste of space and total redundancy. To me, the writer should have either just quoted the tweet without the graphic, or had written, “A Twitter user said,” and then use only the image for the quote.

I see this sort of thing all the time, even in Time magazine. Reporters get paid by the word for their articles. Maybe they do it to increase their word count. Who knows?

The word count for this week’s diatribe is well-over my 500-word quota, thus far sitting at 631; so, thanks for stopping in and for your continual support. (648)

About Mike Slickster

As an early retiree with an honorary doctorate degree from the proverbial "School of Hard Knocks," this upcoming author with a lot of free time on his hands utilizes his expansive repertoire for humorous yet tragic, wildly creative writing that contains years of imaginative fantasy, pure nonsense, classic slapstick, extreme happiness and searing heartbreak; gathered by a wealth of personal experiences throughout his thrilling—sometimes mundane or unusually horrid—free-spirited, rock-'n'-roller-coaster ride around our beloved Planet Earth. Mike Slickster's illustrious quest continues, living now in Act Three of his present incarnation, quite a bit on the cutting edge of profundity and philosophical merriment as seen through his colorful characters, most notably evident in the amusing Thirty Days Across the Big Pond series, all of which can be found at Lulu.com.
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