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Redundancy in Writing

Updated on August 25, 2012

What is Redundancy?

Redundancy is saying the same thing over again in your writing. In your writing you should never be redundant. Being redundant is something you should not do. If you're redundant, your readers will become bored with what you wrote. What you wrote won't be worth reading if you say the same thing over again too much. Saying things over again is boring, and your readers won't like to read what is put on the page if it says the same thing too much. If it says the same thing too much, it's redundant.

Okay, you get the idea...

On to the next part.

What to Do?

Think of as many different ways to say something as possible. Make sure the same word doesn't appear in the same sentence, or even in the same paragraph.


The dogs were a little afraid of the new sight of seeing a turtle in their yard. They barked at the turtle and chased it out of the yard.


The dogs were a little afraid of the new sight--a turtle in their yard! They barked at it and chased it off their turf.

The first illustration is redundant in two ways:

1. sight and seeing repeat the same idea

2. the word "yard" is used twice when it isn't necessary

Exception: Parallelism

What is the difference between redundancy and parallelism? Both repeat words and phrases, but only one is considered unacceptable.

"We were the greatest team, the greatest players. No one ever did what we did."

The above is parallelism, a literary device that gives a bit of bounce to the syllables, a bit of vibe to the verse. More often it is used in poetry, although some prose also employs it. It's perfectly okay to repeat if you're creating parallels, and I encourage you to try a few.

Tools of the Trade

Keep the rust out of your writing. Use dictionaries and search engines to dig up and define new words. Read a lot. Fiction expands the imagination and keeps the working vocabulary in shape. Do crossword puzzles, even if you don't like them. Free online word games like Chicktionary and Bookworm can dramatically improve your skills. Keep your mind sharpened by using it, and keep your arsenal of English well stocked with usable units!


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    • Danast profile image

      Dana Stamps 5 years ago from Wichita, Kansas

      Thank you for sharing your information! This gives me something that I can put to use in my writing!

    • Ushnav profile image

      Ushnav Shroff 5 years ago from INDIA

      THis is a really helpful and enlightening hub ! Thanks very much for sharing the information. :))

    • rwelton profile image

      rwelton 6 years ago from Sacramento CA

      Silver P -

      Good thoughts...gave it a 'useful' thumbs up. I have a well worn alternative word companion nearby and is also helpful when stuck.

      ...note- I didn't use the "T" word twice...


    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 6 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      A very useful hub. I have written only 1 short story and plan to try to write more, so your tips are very helpful for a beginner like me.

      Thank you

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Good hub, silver, with great advice. I agree with Wayne in that writing poetry, by nature, has a tendency to circumvent repetitiveness. Writing articles and short stories is more challenging in this regard. We have to read and write often in order to hone our craft.

    • Pollyannalana profile image

      Pollyannalana 6 years ago from US

      Gee, I reread a hub of mine a few days ago and it was really bad, repeating myself so I have slowed down some on my writing, I think we push ourselves sometime too often to keep up fresh material at the risk of sounding like someone with Alzheimer's. Good thing to point out, good hub.

    • Rob Jundt profile image

      Rob Jundt 6 years ago from Midwest USA

      Great tips. As a writing tutor, one of the most common errors I see is redundancy. Young writers, in particular, are the biggest culprits; but I've seen it across the ages as well. One of my tips is to have writers read their work aloud and listen for the redundancy. Many times they hear it and say, "Wow, I did say the same thing." Thanks for a great hub. Voted up.

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 6 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      This is great, I am guilty of this unpardonable sin, and something that must constantly be kept in check. Thank you!

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      Poetry has worked for me as a in that it has focused me more on my choice of words. Those of us who write more in the fiction or short story vein get caught up more in phrases but poetry is so much about words...more so than I ever realized until I began writing some of it. This was very good advice...thanks for sharing. WB

    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 6 years ago from Australia

      Hi SP, this is quite a helpful hub, as it is easy sometimes to miss the obvious. I have been interested in writing for about fifteen years, but no one has thought to mention these basic tips. Well done, this hub deserves more readers, and comments. cheers