What are pleonasms?
They are redundant redundancies!
A pleonasm, as defined by Dictionary.com, is “the use of more words than necessary to express an idea.” Such as “redundant redundancies.”
They are difficult to spot because of habits we have formed in our speech patterns, particularly when we believe using more words (adjectives in particular) provides clarity and description to what we are saying. In fact, they do not.
A good technique to make your writing better is to look for pleonasms and eliminate the redundant words. Your writing will be pithy; it will be tighter.
What follows are a few common pleonasms with short descriptions of why and how to fix. Over the next few weeks, I’ll provide more examples of these devilish little expressions. Hopefully, it will help make a difference in your writing.
Actual experience – just say experience, since an experience is actual.
Free gift – just say gift, since the meaning of gift is that it is free. When do we pay for gifts? Don’t answer that!
Advance plan/warning/reservations – just say plan/warning/reservations. All of these carry the meaning of being done in advance!
Final outcome – just say outcome, since an outcome is the result. It is final…if it weren’t, then it would not be the outcome!
Merge/Join together – just say merge/join. Merge and join mean multiple things come together.
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