Top 10 Redundant English Expressions and How to Avoid Them

Top 10 Redundant English Expressions and How to Avoid Them

July 20, 2021

Using more words in a sentence won’t make the message clearer; On the contrary, redundant words and expressions can confuse readers and listeners.

Conversational English may be a bit more forgiving when it comes to redundant expressions, but the same cannot be said about the written form. Extra words and unnecessarily long sentences can distract your readers. The worst-case scenario is that they may even lose interest and stop reading altogether.

Have you ever felt like you’re repeating yourself or that you’re saying too many things? If the answer is yes, then you may be prone to redundant expressions. Read on to learn about the top redundant English expressions and how you can avoid them!

What are redundant expressions?

A redundant expression is when at least one word is unnecessary because it just repeats meaning through another term. It drags out a message that you could have conveyed in simpler, fewer terms.

Redundancy in such a context is also known as tautology. It means saying the same thing twice in different words, generally considered a fault of style, particularly in writing. Whether you are a professional writer or someone learning the language, it is definitely helpful to be aware of redundant expressions.

Do you think you have used a lot of redundant expressions? Read on and check if you’ve been making these common redundancies in conversations or writing!

Top 10 Redundant Phrases & Expressions in English

“Unexpected surprise”
All surprises are unexpected. That is the very nature of a surprise. Hence, it is a redundant expression.

“End result”
The result of anything always comes out at the end. It refers to the outcome or result of anything. Thus, the result is the end itself. You may use either end or result but refrain from using both in the same sentence.

“Advance warning / reservation / plan”
Context is king. A warning, reservation, or plan only takes place before a specific event occurs. Thus, the use of “advance” is unnecessary. Your readers or listeners will already be able to understand that the action is meant to take place prior to an event.

“Ask a question”
Both ask and question refer to an inquiry. To ask something means to pose a question.

“Collaborate / join / merge / combine together”
Collaborate, merge, or combine all means that they will come together. The phrase above is redundant because it implies that there is another way to merge or collaborate.

“Compete with one another/each other”
To compete means to strive to win against an opponent. It already indicates that one is competing against another or establishing superiority.

“Current trend”
A trend refers to a present course or tendency. The term automatically refers to the current general trend, so the use of “current” is not needed.

“Exact same”
You may want to use this phrase for emphasis, but it is a redundant expression. The two words mean the same thing. However, if it isn’t exactly the same, then you may use “similar” instead.

“Free gift”
This one is common in malls or other selling platforms. However, a gift is already free by definition, so calling it “free” is unnecessary.

“Different kinds”
Similar to the preceding examples, these two words mean the same thing. “Kinds” refers to types or variety, which means that they are different from each other.

Why You Should Avoid Redundant Expressions

Each word that you use in a piece of writing can either make or break it. It adds something new to the work, so be careful about which words you will use.

When you use redundant phrases, you stuff your content with words that don’t really mean anything. They pad the content with useless words that your writing could have lived without.

Wordy and unnecessarily long pieces of writing can bore readers. Aim to make your sentences as short and simple as possible. This way, you will be able to retain the reader’s attention and get your message across efficiently.

How Can I Prevent Redundancy and Wordiness?

  • Less is more when it comes to writing.
    Wordy sentences and lengthy paragraphs may showcase your rich vocabulary, but it’s not good for readability. The “less is more” rule works best for writing. Try to find a way to convey your message in the simplest form possible.
  • Be mindful of abbreviations.
    A common redundancy mistake when it comes to abbreviations is saying “ATM machine.” The “M” in ATM already stands for “machine,” so it pays to be careful with abbreviations.
  • Avoid double negatives.
    This is a basic concept when it comes to writing, but you’d be surprised with how often double negatives are still used. Generally, it would be best if you avoided them to prevent confusion for your readers.
  • Be careful of pleonasms.
    A pleonasm refers to a phrase that repeats itself. You may have heard people say “12 midnight,” but that’s a pleonasm. They could have just said “midnight,” and it will mean the same thing.
  • Use your intensifiers properly.
    Intensifiers such as “severely” or “extremely” should be used sparingly. If it won’t add an impact or if it only serves to highlight a specific word, then you might be better off without it.

In a nutshell, the best thing to do is to be clear and concise. If you’re trying to reach a certain word count, we recommend doing research and inserting relevant facts instead. Unnecessary fillers and repetitive phrases will only weaken your content.

Being fluent in speaking or writing the English language does not mean that you should stop learning. You may sound like your grammar and sentence construction are flawless, but you may be making these unnoticeable mistakes!

Take note of our tips above, and feel free to incorporate them into your daily conversations and writing.

These are some of the quick tips to help you avoid redundant English expressions! Keep these in mind so that your writing skills can improve. Do you know of other redundancies that people frequently use? Let us know in the comments!

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