Wordiness

A redundant expression says the same thing twice, and doublespeak avoids getting directly to the point. Both are examples of wordy expressions. Other such expressions use more than one word when one word is simpler and more direct—for example, using the phrase in the vicinity of instead of near.

Redundant expressions

In writing, redundancy means conveying the same meaning twice. Like other kinds of wordiness, redundancy makes writing seem cluttered. Sometimes people use redundant expressions because they don't know the precise definition of a word. For example, close proximity is redundant because proximity by itself means nearness. Ask yourself: Is there any other kind of nearness than close nearness? Other times people use redundant expressions because they don't pay attention to what they are writing: small in size, few in number, or red in color.

Examples of redundant expressions

Look for redundant expressions, and you'll find them everywhere. Tables 1 and 2 present short lists. When you write, check your drafts to make sure you are getting the full value of the words you choose and not adding unnecessary ones.

There is, there are, it is expressions

Many wordy expressions occur in sentences starting with there is, there are, or it is constructions.Writing that uses a clear subject and action verbs is less redundant, clearer, and more direct.

There is a famous author who lives on my block.
BETTER A famous author lives on my block.

There are many people who play Scrabble online.
BETTER Many people play Scrabble online.

There are some animals that thrive in arctic temperatures.
BETTER Some animals thrive in arctic temperatures.

It is rarely the case that people refuse to help.
BETTER People rarely refuse to help.

It is a fact that most of us like to be praised.
better Most of us like to be praised.

Overused intensifiers

Intensifiers are words intended to add force to what you say : very, absolutely, positively, really, quite, and so on. Sometimes you need them, but more often these are empty words that add nothing. You can prune them without affecting your tone or meaning. Here are some examples.

Roosevelt, certainly a quite active president, refused to give in to his handicap.
BETTER Roosevelt, an active president, refused to give in to his handicap.

She positively expects to win this election.
BETTER She expects to win this election.

The results were very surprising.
BETTER The results were surprising.

Examples of wordy expressions

New wordy expressions are created every day. Check your writing for similar roundabout ways of saying what you mean.

  • after the conclusion of = after: After the concert we left not After the conclusion of the concert we left.

  • all of = all: All the boys came not All of the boys came.

  • any and all = any or all: We appreciate any suggestions not We appreciate any and all suggestions.

  • at the present moment, at this point in time = now: We are looking for a solution now not We are looking for a solution at the present moment.

  • by means of = by: He came by car not He came by means of a car.

  • due to the fact that = because: Because he called, we waited not Due to the fact that he called, we waited.

  • for the purpose of (+ gerund) = to: The meeting is to discuss plans not The meeting is for the purpose of discussing plans.

  • he is a man who is = he is: He is admired not He is a man who is admired.

  • In a place where = where: They lived where no trees grew not They lived in a place where no trees grew.

  • in connection with = about: He telephoned about the rally not He telephoned in connection with the rally.

  • in order to = to: He said this to help you not He said this in order to help you.

  • in spite of the fact that = although or though: Although she agreed, she was sad not In spite of the fact that she agreed, she was sad.

  • in the near future = soon: We'll see you soon not We'll see you in the near future.

  • in view of the fact that = because: Because she helped us, we won not In view of the fact that she helped us, we won.

  • is located in = is in: Ventura County is in California not Ventura County is located in California.

  • on the part of = by: A suggestion by the consultant helped not A suggestion on the part of the consultant helped.

  • owing to the fact that = because: Because he was here, we stayed not Owing to the fact that he was here, we stayed.

  • rarely ever = rarely: She rarely speaks to a large group not She rarely ever speaks to a large group.

  • the fact is that, the truth is that = often omit altogether: You are the right candidate not The fact is that you are the right candidate.

  • which was when = when: I spoke with him yesterday when he called not I spoke with him yesterday, which was when he called.

  • with the exception of = except: I like all sports except boxing not I like all sports with the exception of boxing.