5 Examples of Repetition and Redundancy

By Mark Nichol

In each of the following sentences, repetition of words or phrases or redundant use of similar terms is easily eliminated, as described in the explanations and shown in the revisions that follow each example.

1. This procedure is called an assay. An assay determines the purity of a precious metal.

The repetition in this sentence is suitable for aiding beginning readers in comprehension but is stilted and unsuitable for normal usage. Whenever a word or phrase ending a brief sentence is immediately or almost immediately repeated at the beginning of the next sentence, convert the two sentences to a single statement such as the one shown here: “This procedure, called an assay, determines the purity of a precious metal.” (If the first sentence is more extensive, revise otherwise to omit repetition of the term.)

2. We often refer to this type of test as purple-team testing. Organizations should utilize testing such as purple-team testing or similar activity to regularly test and refine their defensive posture.

In similar constructions in which a repeated word or phrase is not in proximity to the first instance, it is still often a simple matter to omit the repetition: “We often refer to this type of test as purple team testing. Organizations should utilize such testing or similar activity to regularly evaluate and refine their defensive posture.”

3. Pairing these two departments together creates critical mass to justify infrastructure investments.

If the definition of a word implicitly includes a key word or phrase that also appears in the pertinent passage, omit the repetition. In this case, pairing means “bringing together,” so the inclusion of together creates a redundancy: “Pairing these two departments creates critical mass to justify infrastructure investments.”

4. Implement steps to measure the success of your data analytics efforts, and also consider the most effective ways to report success and value to management and other key stakeholders.

Also is redundant when it immediately follows and: “Implement steps to measure the success of your data analytics efforts, and consider the most effective ways to report success and value to management and other key stakeholders.”

5. The personal information available in medical records can be used to perform any number of identity-theft tactics for some form of financial gain (e.g., obtaining credit, filing tax returns, etc.).

The Latin-derived abbreviations for “for example” and “and so on” are redundant; delete one or the other: “The personal information available in medical records can be used to perform any number of identity-theft tactics for some form of financial gain (e.g., obtaining credit or filing tax returns)” or “The personal information available in medical records can be used to perform any number of identity-theft tactics for some form of financial gain (obtaining credit, filing tax returns, etc.).” (Note, however, that i.e. means “that is” and, unlike e.g., is not redundant to etc.)

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3 Responses to “5 Examples of Repetition and Redundancy”

  • TheBluebird11

    @Dave: Totally agree. In fact, my first thought was that the use of “pairing” and “two” was the redundancy and I also came up with the revised sentence you suggested.

  • venqax

    I have to post here one of my pet peeves regarding redundancy: Capitol building. I am sure for most this is not any regularly vexing problem, but In my line of work, it comes up a LOT, A capitol IS, by definition, a building occupied by a legislature. Capitol building– legislature building building– is redundant just as much as mausoleum tomb, or towtruck truck, highchair chair, or schoolhouse building would be.

  • Dave

    Regarding 3: ‘Pairing these two departments together creates critical mass to justify infrastructure investments.’

    The redundancy in this sentence is twofold. There’s the redundancy you mentioned of ‘together’. However, there’s also ‘two’. The word ‘pairing’ means two things joined, so the sentence could be reduced further, to read:

    ‘Pairing these departments creates critical mass to justify infrastructure investments.’

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