Remember that list of redundant phrases I shared on my blog a few weeks ago? Well, here are some more examples of phrases collected from the Elevate – Brain Training app that should be edited for brevity. Sometimes it seems like we never run out of these common redundancies, doesn’t it? One of the many reasons editing will always be a necessity for writers!
So for your reference, here are 14 more redundant phrases you should simplify during your editing phase. Enjoy!
Edit to: “If you buy one shirt, you’ll get another free.”
1) Absolutely crucial: Crucial already implies that something is absolutely important. Simplify “absolutely crucial” to “crucial”.
2) Added bonus: Bonus indicates something extra, making the word “added” unnecessary. Simplify “added bonus” to “bonus”.
3) ATM machine: ATM stands for “automated teller machine”, so the word “machine” is redundant. Simplify “ATM machine” to “ATM”.
4) Circle around: To circle already means to move all the way around something. Simplify “circle around” to “circle”.
5) Close proximity: Proximity already means the state of being close. Simplify “close proximity” to “proximity”.
6) First introduced: Introduced already indicates something that was seen or shown for the first time. Simplify “first introduced” to “introduced”.
7) For free: Free by itself means no charge, so the preposition “for” is unnecessary. Simplify “for free” to “free”.
8) Honest truth: Both the words “honest” and “truth” indicate an adherence to facts and reality. Simplify “honest truth” to “truth”.
9) Necessary prerequisite: A prerequisite, by definition, is a requirement, so the word “necessary” is redundant. Simplify “necessary prerequisite” to “prerequisite”.
10) New discovery: Discovery already implies that a finding is new. Simplify “new discovery” to “discovery”.
11) Temper tantrum: A tantrum is an outburst of anger, so the word “temper” (in the sense “an angry state of mind”) is redundant. Simplify “temper tantrum” to “tantrum”.
12) Temporary reprieve: A reprieve is short-term relief from something unpleasant, so the word “temporary” is unnecessary. Simplify “temporary reprieve” to “reprieve”.
13) Various differences: Differences are ways in which things vary, making the word “various” redundant. Simplify “various differences” to “differences”.
14) Visible to the eye: Visible already means able to be seen with the eyes. Simplify “visible to the eye” to “visible”.
Do you use any of these redundant phrases in your writing? What others would you add to this list?
A couple of weeks ago, I shared a list taken from the Elevate – Brain Training app of common phrases that are unnecessarily wordy and should be edited out of most writers’ first drafts. Continuing on that theme, today I’d like to share another list of phrases from a similar Elevate game, Brevity, this time of redundant phrases that should be simplified for conciseness. Redundancy is another common plague of first drafts, so you can never know too many tips for making your writing as clear and concise as possible!
So for your reference, here are 16 redundant phrases you should simplify while editing your writing. Enjoy!
1) Empty space: Space, by definition, is an unoccupied area, so the word “empty” is redundant. Simplify “empty space” to “space”.
2) Evil fiend/villain: The word “fiend” or “villain” already implies said person is evil. Simplify “evil fiend” to “fiend” or “evil villain” to “villain”.
3) First and foremost: An unnecessarily long phrase to indicate something that is most important. Simplify “first and foremost” to “first”.
4) Follow after: To follow already means to go or come after someone or something. Simplify “follow after” to “follow”.
5) HIV virus: HIV stands for “human immunodeficiency virus”, so the word “virus” is redundant. Simplify “HIV virus” to “HIV”.
6) In order to: A longer and less direct way of saying “to”. Simplify “in order to” to “to”.
7) Join together: To join means to connect two things to each other, making the word “together” redundant. Simplify “join together” to “join”.
8) None at all: None, by definition, means not any, so the phrase “at all” is unnecessary. Simplify “none at all” to “none”.
9) LCD display: LCD stands for “liquid crystal display”, so the word “display” is redundant. Simplify “LCD display” to “LCD”.
10) Might possibly: Both “might” and “possibly” indicate uncertainty of an event taking place. Simplify “might possibly” to “might”.
11) Past experience: Experience already indicates knowledge gained in the past. Simplify “past experience” to “experience”.
12) Please RSVP: RSVP stands for the French expression “répondez s’il vous plaît”, or “please reply” in English, making the word “please” redundant. Simplify “please RSVP” to “RSVP”.
13) PIN number: PIN stands for “personal identification number”, so the word “number” is redundant. Simplify “PIN number” to “PIN”.
14) Terrible disaster: A disaster is an event that causes great damage, making the adjective “terrible” unnecessary. Simplify “terrible disaster” to “disaster”.
15) Totally destroyed: To be destroyed is to be completely ruined, so the adverb “totally” is unneeded. Simplify “totally destroyed” to “destroyed”.
16) Unsolved mystery: A mystery is already an unexplained or unsolved event. Simplify “unsolved mystery” to “mystery”.
Are you guilty of using any of these phrases in your writing? What other redundant phrases would you add to this list?
If you’ve been writing for most of your life, you’ll probably agree that editing is the hardest part of the craft. For those of us who take our art seriously, the joy of creation is always followed by the challenge of polishing, which can be especially difficult for those of us who deal with the many rules of English. One of the most common mistakes inexperienced writers make is using unnecessarily wordy phrases in their first drafts, which is why the Elevate – Brain Training app includes a game called Clarity, an exercise that teaches players how to simplify said phrases to improve the flow of their writing. I’ve learned quite a few editing tips from this game, and I think you might find them useful too!
So for your reference, here are 14 wordy phrases you should eliminate from your writing during the editing phase. Enjoy!
1) As long as: a common phrase used to indicate that something will happen under a certain condition. Simplify “as long as” with “if”.
2) At the end of: indicates something that is last or that follows something else. “Simplify “at the end of” with “after”.
3) Draw attention to: refers to someone or something that deserves notice. Simplify “draw attention to” with “highlight”.
4) Give an indication of: implies a hint or a glimpse of something. Simplify “give an indication of” with “indicate” or “reveal”.
5) Have an effect on: the passive form of the verb “affect”. Simplify “have an effect on” with “affect” or “influence”.
6) Hold a conference: passive phrase meaning to gather people to talk. Simplify “hold a conference” with “confer”.
7) In conjunction: indicates two events that are connected. Simplify “in conjunction” with “along”.
8) Not the same: negative phrase indicating something that differs from a given subject. Simplify “not the same” with “different”.
9) Notwithstanding the fact: redundant when the fact is explained in the sentence. Simplify “notwithstanding the fact” with “although”.
10) Owing to the fact: also redundant when the fact is already explained. Simplify “owing to the fact” with “because”.
11) Relating to: indicates something related to a given subject. Simplify “relating to” with “about”.
12) Spell out: informal phrase meaning to describe something in detail. Simplify “spell out” with “explain”.
13) Take action: the passive form of the verb “act”. Simplify “take action” with “act”.
14) There is a chance it will: lengthy phrase used to indicate that something might happen. Simplify “there is a chance it will” with “it may”.
Are you guilty of using any of these phrases? What other wordy phrases would you add to this list?
Remember that list of commonly misspelled expressions I shared last week? Well, here are a few more to add to your notes. I know, sometimes it seems like there are way too many of these to keep track of. Anyway, while you’re working on your novel for NaNoWriMo or any other writing projects, it may be worth keeping a long list of these expressions as a reference. You never know when you might find yourself second-guessing the spelling of an idiom, right?
So for further reference, here are 12 more expressions you may have misheard and/or written incorrectly. Enjoy!
1) Beck and call: indicates being constantly ready to obey someone’s orders immediately. Write “beck and call”, not “beckon call”.
2) By and large: an alternative expression for “on the whole” or “everything considered”. Write “by and large”, not “by in large” nor “buy and large”.
3) Curb your appetite: to restrain or keep your appetite in check. Write “curb your appetite”, not “curve your appetite”.
4) Foolproof: describes something that is incapable of going wrong or being misused. Write “foolproof”, not “full proof”.
5) In this day and age: an alternative expression for “at the present time” or “in the modern age”. Write “in this day and age”, not “in this day in age”.
6) Leeway: indicates the available amount of freedom to move or act or a margin of safety. Write “leeway”, not “leadway”.
7) Nitpicking: denotes looking for small insignificant errors or faults, usually in order to criticize unnecessarily. Write “nitpicking”, not “knitpicking”.
8) No holds barred: indicates that no rules or restrictions apply in a dispute or conflict. Write “no holds barred”, not “no holes barred”.
9) Rank and file: an expression of military origin referring to the ordinary members of an organization as opposed to its leaders. Write “rank and file”, not “ranking file”.
10) Sneak peek: describes a special preview of something before it becomes generally available. Write “sneak peek”, not “sneak peak”.
11) Vice versa: a Latin phrase denoting that a statement remains true when the objects are switched. Write “vice versa”, not “vice a versa”.
12) With all due respect: a polite expression used to mitigate the effect of a disagreement or criticism. Write “with all due respect”, not “with all do respect”.
What are your thoughts on these expressions and idioms? Any others you would add to this list?
Still working on that NaNoWriMo novel? Whether you’re trying to churn out a 50,000-word novel or just sticking to short stories for now, impeccable writing skills are key to success in the long run, and that includes proper grammar and spelling of everything from simple words to long phrases and idioms. There are plenty of everyday expressions that we’re used to hearing but not reading or writing, and this often leads to misspellings. It never hurts to keep notes of these misheard idioms for future reference, which is why I compiled another list of words and phrases from the Elevate – Brain Training app, this time from the Expression game.
So continuing on a trend of writing lessons from Elevate, here are 14 common expressions that you may be writing incorrectly. Enjoy!
1) All of a sudden: an alternative expression for “suddenly”. Write “all of a sudden”, not “all of the sudden”.
2) Compliments of the house: indicates that something is being given for free. Write “compliments of the house”, not “complements of the house”.
3) Couldn’t care less: expresses a complete lack of interest. Write “couldn’t care less”, not “could care less”.
4) Deep-seated: describes something firmly established at a profound level. Write “deep-seated”, not “deep-seeded”.
5) Due diligence: the reasonable steps taken to satisfy a legal requirement. Write “due diligence”, not “do diligence”.
6) En route: a French expression meaning “during the course of” or “on the way”. Write “en route”, not “on route”.
7) For all intents and purposes: indicates that a concept applies in all important respects. Write “for all intents and purposes”, not “for all intensive purposes”.
8) Free rein: indicates freedom of action or expression. Write “free rein”, not “free reign”.
9) Harebrained: describes an idea that is rash or ill-advised. Write “harebrained”, not “hairbrained”. (Thanks to Robert Kirkendall for this one!)
10) Lo and behold: presents a surprising situation with the suggestion that it could have been predicted. Write “lo and behold”, not “low and behold”.
11) No love lost: indicates a mutual dislike between parties. Write “no love lost”, not “no love loss”.
12) Rife with: denotes that someone or something is full of a given emotion or idea. Write “rife with”, not “ripe with”.
13) Sleight of hand: dexterity typically used in performing tricks. Write “sleight of hand”, not “slight of hand” nor “slide of hand”. (Thanks to M.C. Tuggle for this one!)
14) Through the wringer: indicates subjecting someone to a stressful experience. Write “through the wringer”, not “through the ringer”.
Have you ever gotten any of these expressions wrong? What other expressions would you add to this list?