Editing for Grammarphobes: Cutting the Fat


Redundancies. They clog our writing, weighing it down in unnecessary muck, much like what triple cheeseburgers with bacon and mayonnaise do to our arteries.

Here is a great list from that fantastic book I told you about a few weeks ago, The Bugaboo Review, by Sue Sommer.

Watch out for the following duplicate phrases.

advance planning
and also
burn up
close down
down below
8:00 p.m. at night
fall down
free gift
funeral service
Jewish rabbi
lie down
lift up
my own personal opinion
owns his own home
raise up
refer back
staple together
use it all up

I especially like "Jewish rabbi." What other kind is there?

Time to edit. Have a good day.


A professional writer/editor for almost 30 years, Karen Wojcik Berner's wide and varied experience includes such topics as grammar, blog content, book reviews, corporate communications, the arts, paint and coatings, real estate, the fire service, writing and literature, research, and publishing. An award-winning journalist, her work has appeared in several magazines, newspapers, and blogs, including the Chicago Tribune, Writer Unboxed, Women's Fiction Writers, Naperville Magazine, and Fresh Fiction. She also is the author of three contemporary women's fiction novels and is a member of the Chicago Writers’ Association. For more information on Karen, please visit www.karenberner.com.


These are good. I need this help in my life. I am guilty of committing nearly all of these infractions. I am trying to make sure I'm not doing it now. LOL.

I don't understand the funeral service, what's wrong with that one?

Thanks for sharing. I'm ordering the Bugabook Review soon. I've gotta have it.
Thanks for reading, Lena. The word "funeral" already implies a service, I believe, so that is the redundancy.
Kelly Hashway said…
Great list! Here are a few more:

Nodded her head--what else can you nod?
Blinked her eyes--what else do you blink?
Shrugged her shoulders--when you shrug, you raise your shoulders, so saying "her shoulders" is redundant.
Those are great additions--thanks, Kelly.
Beverly Diehl said…
I need to print this list out and do a search. Terribly afraid I do some of these.
Janel said…
Great list! I have read or heard many of these. Now to keep an eye out for them in my own writing.
Brenda said…
good list, but I have never included 'rabbi or Jewish' in my writing, but i'll have to lift up a page or two to check.. OK, just kidding.
Anne K. Albert said…
Great list. The scary thing is how easy they slip into our writing, and our speech!
angel011 said…
Great list!

I'm guilty of redundancy sometimes, I tend to over-explain things and redundancy easily slips into that.
'Stand up' and 'sit down' are two that I always use (and then have to fix up). I'll add the ones you list here to my checklist for future work :)
I think we are all guilty of one or more of these, don't you think?

I like the idea of printing them out and keeping that list nearby when editing. It really helps to have a checklist of things to watch out for and scour the manuscript word by word for each of them.

Glad everyone found this helpful.
Anonymous said…
I agree about having this list close by for editing (I always like to see your "editing for grammarphobes" in general). I especially like Kelly's additions. I know I'm probably guilty of at least one or two of those.

I would only differ on "fall down," but only in the case of having an object of the preposition (such as "fall down the stairs." You couldn't just say "fall the stairs"). And I can see the confusion on "funeral service" because I think many people confuse "funeral" with "interment" (when many times a service will take place in a church and the interment at the cemetery).

Thanks as always for these great posts to keep us sharp.

Paul D. Dail
www.pauldail.com- A horror writer's not necessarily horrific blog
Fairday Morrow said…
Interesting list! Great to have! :)


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