|Redundancy||The Lean Version|
|3 am in the morning||3 am|
|a person who is honest||an honest person|
|a total of 14 birds||14 birds|
|biography of her life||biography|
|consensus of opinion||consensus|
|each and every||each|
|exactly the same||the same|
|frank and honest exchange||frank exchange or honest exchange|
|he/she is a person who . . .||he/she|
|in spite of the fact that||although|
|in the field of economics/law enforcement||in economics/law enforcement|
|in the event that||if|
|job functions||job or functions|
|one and the same||the same|
|period of four days||four days|
|personally, I think/feel||I think/feel|
|puzzling in nature||puzzling|
|shorter/longer in length||shorter/longer|
|small/large in size||small/large|
|square/round/rectangular in shape||square/round/rectangular|
|surrounded on all sides||surrounded|
|the future to come||the future|
|there is no doubt but that||no doubt|
|we are in receipt of||we have received|
A special breed of redundancy is proliferating in our modern world as we increasingly rely on abbreviations and acronyms in the busyness of our technology. Some people insist it is redundant to say "ATM machine" because ATM means Automated Teller Machine. They add that it is redundant to say "HIV virus" because HIV means Human Immunodeficiency Virus, "AIDS syndrome" because AIDS means Acquired ImmunoDeficiency Syndrome, "CPU unit" because CPU means Central Processing Unit. It sounds particularly silly when we come up with a plural such as "CPU units" — Central Processing Unit units. It is perhaps too easy to get caught up in this, however. "CD disk" can be redundant, but nowadays the abbreviation CD can refer to a number of things, including the machine itself. Occasionally, an abbreviation — like CD, ATM — becomes more of an idea unto itself than a shortened version for a set of words, and the abbreviation ought to be allowed to act as modifier.
Be alert for clauses or phrases that can be pared to simpler, shorter constructions. The "which clause" can often be shortened to a simple adjective. (Be careful, however, not to lose some needed emphasis by over-pruning; the word "which," which is sometimes necessary [as it is in this sentence], is not evil.)
Phrases, too, can sometimes be trimmed, sometimes to a single word.
Avoid using words such as really, very, quite, extremely, severely when they are not necessary. It is probably enough to say that the salary increase is inadequate. Does saying that it is severely inadequate introduce anything more than a tone of hysteria? These words shouldn't be banished from your vocabulary, but they will be used to best effect when used sparingly.
This sounds like something a politician has to learn to avoid, but, no, an expletive construction is a common device that often robs a sentence of energy before it gets a chance to do its work. Expletive constructions begin with there is/are or it is.
Be on the lookout for important sounding phrases that add nothing to the meaning of a sentence. Such phrases quickly put a reader on guard that the writer is trading in puffery; worse, they put a reader to sleep.
Many but not all of these unnecessary phrases have been taken from Quick Access: Reference for Writers by Lynn Quitman Troyka. Simon & Schuster: New York. 1995. The examples, however, are our own. No political inferences should be drawn from these examples; they are merely models of form.
|all things considered||All things considered, Connecticut's woodlands are in better shape now than ever before.|
|as a matter of fact||As a matter of fact, there are more woodlands in Connecticut now than there were in 1898.|
|as far as I'm concerned||As far as I'm concerned, there is no need for further protection of woodlands.|
|at the present time||This is because there are fewer farmers at the present time.|
This is because there are fewer farmers now.
|because of the fact that||Woodlands have grown in area because of the fact that farmers have abandoned their fields.|
Woodlands have grown in area because farmers have abandoned their fields.
|by means of||Major forest areas are coming back by means of natural processes.|
Major forest areas are coming back through natural processes. (or naturally)
|by virtue of the fact that||Our woodlands are coming back by virtue of the fact that our economy has shifted its emphasis.|
Our woodlands are coming back
|due to the fact that||Due to the fact that their habitats are being restored, forest creatures are also re-establishing their population bases.|
|exists||The fear that exists among many people that we are losing our woodlands is uncalled for.|
|for all intents and purposes||The era in which we must aggressively defend our woodlands has, for all intents and purposes, passed.|
The era in which we must aggressively defend our woodlands has
|for the most part||For the most part, people's suspicions are based on a misunderstanding of the facts.|
|for the purpose of||Many woodlands, in fact, have been purchased for the purpose of creating public parks. |
Many woodlands, in fact, have been purchased
|have a tendency to||This policy has a tendency to isolate some communities.|
|in a manner of speaking||The policy has, in a manner of speaking, begun to Balkanize the more rural parts of our state.|
The policy has
|in a very real sense||In a very real sense, this policy works to the detriment of those it is supposed to help.|
|in my opinion||In my opinion, this wasteful policy ought to be revoked.|
|in the case of||In the case of this particular policy, citizens of northeast Connecticut became very upset.|
Citizens of northeast Connecticut became very upset about his policy.
|in the final analysis||In the final analysis, the state would have been better off without such a policy.|
|in the event that||In the event that enough people protest, it will probably be revoked.|
If enough people protest, it will probably be revoked.
|in the nature of||Something in the nature of a repeal may soon take place.|
|in the process of||Legislators are already in the process of reviewing the statutes.|
Legislators are already
|it seems that||It seems that they can't wait to get rid of this one.|
|manner||They have monitored the activities of conservationists in a cautious manner.|
They have cautiously monitored the activities of conservationists.
|the point I am trying to make||The point I am trying to make is that sometimes public policy doesn't accomplish what it set out to achieve.|
|type of||Legislators need to be more careful of the type of policy they propose.|
Legislators need to be more careful of the
|what I mean to say is||What I mean to say is that well intentioned lawmakers sometimes make fools of themselves.|