Style Quiz #15: Redundancy

By Mark Nichol

Correct errors of redundancy in the following sentences by removing words that repeat the meaning already expressed by other words in the same sentence.

1. After a few minutes, the hawk was a small speck in the sky.

2. The Medical Examiner was called to the building where a dead corpse had been found.

3. I had to return back to the house to fetch my briefcase.

4. The boss wants us to meet together as soon as possible to address the problem of shrinkage.

5. Buy now and we’ll throw in a printer as an added bonus.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: After a few minutes, the hawk was a small speck in the sky.
Correct : After a few minutes, the hawk was a speck in the sky.

A speck is a small spot.

2.
Original: The Medical Examiner was called to the building where a dead corpse had been found.
Correct : The Medical Examiner was called to the building where a corpse had been found.

The idea of “dead” is included in the word corpse.

3.
Original: I had to return back to the house to fetch my briefcase.
Correct : I had to return to the house to fetch my briefcase.

The verb return includes the sense of “going back” to a place.

4.
Original: The boss wants us to meet together as soon as possible to address the problem of shrinkage.
Correct : The boss wants us to meet as soon as possible to address the problem of shrinkage.

The word together is redundant because to meet means “to assemble a group in one place.”

5.
Original: Buy now and we’ll throw in a printer as an added bonus.
Correct : Buy now and we’ll throw in a printer as a bonus.

A bonus is something extra or added.


2 Responses to “Style Quiz #15: Redundancy”

  • Dale A. Wood

    There is a American TV program that I enjoy on the Travel Channel.
    There was a story about the town of Salem, New Jersey, and the announcer said, “the town of Salem was first founded in 1824.
    Wow – “first founded”.
    A notable point about Salem is that it has the second-oldest courthouse in the United States.
    (They must mean the part that was settled by the English rather then the Spanish, because I believe that there would have been older courthouses in places like St. Augustine, Fla., Pensacola, Texas, and California.)

  • Boris Gvozde.

    > Buy now and we’ll throw in a printer as an added bonus.

    Haha, I always use “add” and “bonus” together! Thank you very much, I like your way better.

    Just curious if these are mistakes that only non-native speakers do or native speakers do them too?

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