3 Types of Redundancy to Avoid

By Mark Nichol

Redundancy in a sentence is annoying, and it is also a nuisance. Conveying information in more than one way, or by repeating wording, is consciously or subconsciously distracting to the reader and contributes to compositional clutter. Note in the discussions and revisions following each example how the sentence in question can be improved by deleting such infelicities.

1. Like Smith, Jones also owns a family-run business.

When an additive word or phrase such as like or “in addition to” introduces a sentence, using also to bridge the complementary phrases is redundant: “Like Smith, Jones owns a family-run business.”

2. Many components, such as asset balance, deposit balance, and interest income, etc., should be sensitive to the change in the macroeconomic environment.

Use of a phrase like “such as” or “for example” (or the corresponding abbreviation e.g.) is redundant to etc. (or “and so on”): “Many components, such as asset balance, deposit balance, and interest income, should be sensitive to the change in the macroeconomic environment.” (Or “Many components—asset balance, deposit balance, and interest income, etc.—should be sensitive to the change in the macroeconomic environment.”) Note, however, that i.e., which means “that is” (or “that is” itself), pertains to clarification and not to listing of examples, so it is not redundant to etc.

3. But the policy is not solely about consumers; it is about what the law calls a data subject. A data subject is defined as a living individual to whom personal data relates.

Avoid ending one sentence and beginning the subsequent sentence with the same word or phrase, which generally occurs when a word or phrase is introduced and then immediately defined: “But the policy is not solely about consumers; it is about what the law calls a data subject, which is defined as a living individual to whom personal data relates.”

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3 Responses to “3 Types of Redundancy to Avoid”

  • D.A.W.

    Jason, you hit the nail on the head!

  • Paul Wichtendahl

    Example #2:
    I find clutter and redundancy quite common around contrived lists. The proliferation of punctuation also makes reading the statement aloud challenging. From what I understand as the intent of the statement I would think the following is a viable option;
    “Asset balance, deposit balance, and interest income, etc., are components which should be sensitive to change in the macroeconomic environment.”

  • Jason

    Common today: “Like Smith, Jones also owns a family-run business as well.”

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