Extraneous Words Exercise (633)

In each sentence, delete superfluous or repeated words.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: We don’t worry about whether or not the city could be overtaken by chimpanzees and gorillas.
Correct : We don’t worry about whether the city could be overtaken by chimpanzees and gorillas.

The two choices, whether the city would be overtaken or whether it would not be overtaken, are implied by "whether"; "or not" is superfluous.

2.
Original: Increasingly, these leaders envision it as not just as a compliance document for the state but also as an opportunity to create a more coherent, focused, and effective plan.
Correct : Increasingly, these leaders envision it not just as a compliance document for the state but also as an opportunity to create a more coherent, focused, and effective plan.

The writer carelessly retained the first (and extraneous and grammatically erroneous) instance of "as," presumably after revising the sentence. Alternatively, the first "as" can be retained and the others omitted.

3.
Original: Serratia marcescens is a theoretically harmless bacterium that’s known for turning bread red in color.
Correct : Serratia marcescens is a theoretically harmless bacterium that’s known for turning bread red.

The phrase "in color" is superfluous, because red is explicitly understood to be a color. (Also, "that’s" is extraneous but not incorrect.)

4.
Original: As sales declined in July, some analysts predicted that the the residential boom may be cooling off.
Correct : As sales declined in July, some analysts predicted that the residential boom may be cooling off.

Readers often pass right over inadvertently immediately repeated words such as the repetition of "the"—a case in which, during revision of the sentence, the writer neglects to note that he or she has already typed the word.

5.
Original: The episode demonstrates how Bush’s determination to chart his own path in a family of presidents and avoid publicly judging the policies his father and brother pursued.
Correct : The episode demonstrates Bush’s determination to chart his own path in a family of presidents and avoid publicly judging the policies his father and brother pursued.

The writer apparently started to write the sentence differently and then neglected to delete "how" once the statement ended up being constructed differently from the original intention.

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