Editing for Grammarphobes: Pruning Your Writing, Part Two


Welcome back to the second half of Spring cleaning for your writing. Today, we will examine more redundancies that can bog down even the best prose.

Before we begin, I would like to say hello to all of the visitors from the She Writes group "Blogging about Books and Writing." I have participated in the blog hops before and discovered many wonderful sites on a variety of topics. If you would like to join the group or the blog hop, here is the link.

Okay, so back to Spring cleaning. Grab those pruning shears. It's time to edit. 

Richard Nordquist compiled a great list of 200 common redundancies for About.com. Here are some mentioned.

(Final) conclusion. What other kind is there?

(Fly) through the air. Can one fly anywhere else?

(Live) studio audience. Let's hope so.

Nape (of her neck). A nape can only be found at the back of the neck. There is no nape of the arm, for example.

ISBN (number). This is the acronym for international standard book number and does not require the extra the word "number," just like our ATM (machine) example from Monday's post. The next two redundancies also have needless repetition.

LCD (display). Liquid crystal display

HIV (virus). Human immunodeficiency virus

(Unexpected) surprise. Yes, yes it is.

(Underground) subway. If it were above ground, it would not be a subway, right?

And my favorite...

(Overused) cliche. 

All of us get so used to hearing or reading these phrases, we do not stop to think of what they mean. Bookmark Nordquist's list and refer back to it often. It will help to produce crisp, unencumbered prose.

About Friday
I am taking the day off on Friday to spend time with my family for Easter, so there will be no Flash Fiction Fridays post. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. See you on Monday.


Amanda said…
Hi Karen,

These are great...some of them truly made me laugh out loud. I don't think I've used any of them in my own writing, but it's true that we get used to hearing things.

I love editing posts because, for me, that's one of the toughest parts about writing. I don't pay enough attention to detail.

I'm just stopping over on the She Writes Blog Hop, and I'm so glad to have your blog on my reader now.

Enjoy Easter with your family! I look forward to reading more.

Jennifer said…
Stopping over from the blogger ball. Great post very funny and so very true. I am a technology manager in my real life and it drives me crazy when people say NIC card because the c in NIC is card. Hope you have a wonderful Easter with your family.
Thanks for stopping by Amanda and Jennifer.
Valerie said…
I'm popping in from Meg's blog hop. Thanks for putting together the pruning list.

I like reading pieces like this about "the obvious." So many ordinary phrases lodge themselves in our heads from exposure elsewhere, it's hard to root out all of them. My own peeve is anything with "basis" in it. We don't need the addition to daily, weekly, or monthly.

Another problem is daily exposure to poor spelling. I've seen so many words repeatedly misspelled in email messages, Facebook posts, and on websites that my writing is slowed. Where I used to be sure of what I was typing, I now trip over 'exposure speed bumps' such as "tow the line" instead of "toe the line." The break in concentration is momentary, but irritating.

Thanks for your work.
Judy said…
Hello from the SheWrites blog hop! Thanks for visiting my blog. I've enjoyed reading your blog, especially this post. Happy Easter!
Glad you dropped by, Valerie and Judy.
Kelly Hashway said…
I gave you an award on my blog. Stop by to claim it.
Anonymous said…
These are great! Too funny:) Thanks for sharing.

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