Monday 11 February 2013

Redundancies: on account of because

On a very clear day, Edith...

Why fill out your writing and speech with redundant words like “altogether” and “anyway”? If they prop up a weak sentence structure, strip them out and recast the sentence. You may think they make your sentence look posher and more “high-register”. But they often tell the reader what to think, instead of letting him work it out for himself. If you want to sound amateurish, pad out your prose with “in turn”, “by contrast” and “Excuse the pun!”.

If you sprinkle extras over a well-known anecdote, its impact will be dulled, not enhanced.

“The unspeakable in full pursuit of the unspeakable.” Ivana Lowell misquotes Oscar Wilde on fox-hunting

The witty 70s graffiti read MY KARMA HAS RUN OVER MY DOGMA, not “Help! My karma has just run over my dogma!”.

Edith Evans had trouble with a line in Noel Coward’s Hay Fever (“On a clear day you can see Marlow.”) She kept putting in an extra “very”. Coward complained: “Edith – on a very clear day you can see Marlowe, and Beaumont and Fletcher.” (You may need to know that Marlow is a town on the Thames, and Marlowe, Beaumont and Fletcher were 16th century playwrights.)

13 different sizes (if two of them were the same as each other, you’d only have 12 sizes etc etc)
across the whole globe: across the globe
added bonus: bonus
alas (Save it for genuinely tragic circumstances.)
(while also, which are also shown alongside, a second man has now also been jailed)
also includes: includes
up to the present day: up to the present
anywhere (the biggest population of Koreans anywhere in Europe)
as well (it gave them also chilblains as well)
at all

in the 80s (We can work out that the 80s aren’t in the future.)
bear no relation whatsoever: bear no relation
both (Nearly always in the wrong place: “Is both a symbol of work and of the narrator’s personality” Rachel Cook Observer June 10 Is a symbol both of work…)
by contrast

ceased altogether: ceased
certainly right: right
combine together
continue on: continue
continued all along: continued
could eventually end up: could end up
cut straight to the chase: cut to the chase

despite persistent denials to the contrary: despite persistent denials
down to the sea below: down to the sea

equally as
excise out: excise

fell down dead: fell dead (Few fall up.)
finally unmasked: unmasked
first created: created
for example
for instance

for the first time ever: for the first time
former, latter
forward on the information
planning: planning (No point planning the past.)
from this moment on: from this moment
fully insulated, fully licensed
going forward (Politicians love this one. Think it means “in the future”. They used to say “in the long term”.)
hang down (see fall)

in total
in turn

join together: join
key (Especially not “key core capabilities”.)


link together: link
manage to do X: do X
may well: may
neither/nor (but hence, whence etc are useful)
not a single one: not one
not only… but also (Can be useful, but try “X as well as Y”.)

over time
(How else could it happen?)
parachuting down (see fall, hang)
prefer instead: prefer
(What John and Joe Smith (a businessman and a psychologist, respectively) show…)
return back
reverse back
revert back
right up to the present day: up to the present

(the sheer volume of…)
simply (they simply did X: they did X)
sink down (see hang, fall, parachute)
sole criterion
still continuing, still remain
synchronise together: synchronise

the oldest one of all: the oldest one
the way we were before: the way we were
their first collaboration together: first collaboration
there’s a real risk of: there’s a risk of (If you mean serious risk, say so. But do you mean “a risk of something seriously bad happening”?)
they have run out of other options: they have run out of options
though (the good news, though, is that…)
throughout the whole day: throughout the day
two separate groups

up until
now: until now
upward ascent, downward descent (see fall, hang, parachute)
very (the very thing, the very man… Very is unnecessary. It’s also pompous, academic and old-fashioned, and annoyingly fashionable at the moment. Try “same” or “actual”.)
very real (You can’t be partly real unless you’re Schrodinger’s cat.)
bear no relation whatsoever: bear no relation
which were, who was etc (The X, which was thrown out in 1813: The X, thrown out in 1813.)
would have been enough on their own: would have been enough
yet (it isn’t ready yet: it isn’t ready)

You mad fool! (Dialogue from silent movie The Sheikh, allegedly)

a good 22 years ago
a massive 60%
a total of three
as much as 99mm
for two full months
fully 78% of us
fully half
in all, eight carriages were set on fire
just 2.5
just ten minutes from the city centre
no fewer than 100

Tautology here with links to more.

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