Reducing Redundancy

Writing Tutorial

Reducing Redundancy


One of the most important lessons a writer can learn is how to write simply and clearly. This sounds…well simple, but it is one of the hardest parts of writing. Mark Twain once said, “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” It is difficult to say a lot with a little but good writing is good communication and good communication is succinct and clear. (Unless you are William Faulkner).

Sample Problem

Question source

For Example: Grammatically there is nothing wrong with the following sentence; however, it is riddled with unnecessary words.

It is very unusual to find someone who has never told a deliberate lie on purpose.


A better way to say the exact same thing with fewer words is as follows:

It is unusual to find someone who has never deliberately told a lie.

The word “very” is what we call a filler word. It is hardly ever useful. Filler words do not add significant meaning to the sentence. They just take up space. The words “deliberate” and “on purpose” mean the same thing. It is redundant to use them both in the same sentence.

Here are some other examples of common filler words and redundant statements:

Kind of
Sort of

Each individual
Past history
future plans
terrible tragedy
free gift
true facts

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I have a M.A. in English and three years of teaching experience at the college level. I have taught multiple writing course and literature courses. In addition to my teaching experience, I have also worked as an Oral Reading Specialist for the Kumon Learning Center. I have a Valid NY State Teaching ...
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