Writing tip: Avoid redundant expressions

A redundancy is an expression—usually a word pair—that says the same thing twice. One of the words can be omitted without losing the meaning. I typically delete many repetitive words when I edit a manuscript. Here is a list of common redundancies:


(absolutely) essential

(absolutely) necessary

(actual) facts

advance (forward)

(advance) planning

(advance) preview

(advance) reservations

(advance) warning

add (an additional)

add (up)

(added) bonus

(affirmative) yes

(aid and) abet

(all-time) record

alternative (choice)

A.M. (in the morning)

(and) etc.

(anonymous) stranger

(annual) anniversary

(armed) gunman

(artificial) prosthesis

ascend (up)

ask (the question)

assemble (together)

attach (together)

ATM (machine)

autobiography (of his or her own life)



balsa (wood)

(basic) fundamentals

(basic) necessities

best (ever) biography (of his—or her—life)

blend (together)

(boat) marina

bouquet (of flowers)

brief (in duration)

(brief) moment

(brief) summary

(burning) embers


cacophony (of sound)

cameo (appearance)

cancel (out)

(careful) scrutiny

cash (money)

cease (and desist)

circle (around)

circulate (around)

classify (into groups)

(close) proximity

(closed) fist

collaborate (together)

combine (together)

commute (back and forth)

compete (with each other)

(completely) annihilate

(completely) destroyed

(completely) eliminate

(completely) engulfed

(completely) filled

(completely) surround

(component) parts

confer (together)

connect (together)

connect (up)

confused (state)

consensus (of opinion)

(constantly) maintained

cooperate (together)

could (possibly)

crisis (situation)

curative (process)

(current) incumbent

(current) trend


depreciate (in value)

descend (down)

(desirable) benefits

(different) kinds

disappear (from sight)

drop (down)

during (the course of)

dwindle (down)


each (and every)

earlier (in time)

eliminate (altogether)

emergency (situation)

(empty) hole

empty (out)

(empty) space

enclosed (herein)

(end) result

enter (in)

(entirely) eliminate

equal (to one another)

eradicate (completely)

estimated at (about)

evolve (over time)

(exact) same

(exposed) opening

extradite (back)


(face) mask

fall (down)

(favorable) approval

(fellow) classmates

(fellow) colleague

few (in number)

filled (to capacity)

(final) conclusion

(final) end

(final) outcome

(final) ultimatum

(first and) foremost

(first) conceived

first (of all)

fly (through the air)

follow (after)

(foreign) imports

(former) graduate

(former) veteran

(free) gift

(from) whence

(frozen) ice

(frozen) tundra

full (to capacity)

(full) satisfaction

fuse (together)

(future) plans

(future) recurrence


gather (together)

(general) public

GOP (party)

GRE (exam)

green [or blue or whatever] (in color)

grow (in size)


had done (previously)

(harmful) injuries

(head) honcho

heat (up)

HIV (virus)

hoist (up)

(hollow) tube

hurry (up)


(illustrated) drawing

incredible (to believe)

indicted (on a charge)

input (into)

integrate (together)

integrate (with each other)

interdependent (on each other)

introduced (a new)

introduced (for the first time)


ISBN (number)


join (together)

(joint) collaboration


kneel (down)

(knowledgeable) experts


lag (behind)

later (time)

LCD (display)

lift (up)

(little) baby

(live) studio audience

(live) witness

(local) residents

look (ahead) to the future

look back (in retrospect)


made (out) of

(major) breakthrough

(major) feat

manually (by hand)

may (possibly)

meet (together)

meet (with each other)

(mental) telepathy

merge (together)

might (possibly)

minestrone (soup)

mix (together)

modern ______ (of today)

(mutual) cooperation

(mutually) interdependent

mutual respect (for each other)


(number-one) leader in ________

nape (of her neck)

(native) habitat

(natural) instinct

never (before)

(new) beginning

(new) construction

(new) innovation

(new) invention

(new) recruit

none (at all)

nostalgia (for the past)

(now) pending


off (of)

(old) adage

(old) cliche

(old) custom

(old) proverb

(open) trench

open (up)

(oral) conversation

(originally) created

output (out of)

(outside) in the yard

outside (of)

(over) exaggerate

over (with)

(overused) cliché


(pair of) twins

palm (of the hand)

(passing) fad

(past) experience

(past) history

(past) memories

(past) records

penetrate (into)

period (of time)

(personal) friend

(personal) opinion

pick (and choose)

PIN (number)

pizza (pie)

plan (ahead)

plan (in advance)

(Please) RSVP

plunge (down)

(polar) opposites

(positive) identification

postpone (until later)

pouring (down) rain

(pre)board (as an airplane)



(private) industry

(present) incumbent

present (time)

previously listed (above)

proceed (ahead)

(proposed) plan

protest (against)

pursue (after)


raise (up)

RAM (memory)

reason is (because)

reason (why)

recur (again)

re-elect (for another term)

refer (back)

reflect (back)

(regular) routine

repeat (again)

reply (back)

retreat (back)

revert (back)

rise (up)

round (in shape)


(safe) haven

(safe) sanctuary

same (exact)

(sand) dune

scrutinize (in detail)

self-______ (yourself)

separated (apart from each other)

(serious) danger

share (together)

(sharp) point

shiny (in appearance)

shut (down)

(single) unit

skipped (over)

slow (speed)

small (size)

(small) speck

soft (in texture) [or (to the touch)]

sole (of the foot)

spell out (in detail)

spliced (together)

start (off) or (out)

(still) persists

(still) remains

(sudden) impulse

(sum) total

surrounded (on all sides)


tall (in height)

tall (in stature)

(temper) tantrum

ten (in number)

three a.m. (in the morning)

(three-way) love triangle

time (period)

(tiny) bit

(total) destruction

(true) facts

(truly) sincere

tuna (fish)

(twelve) noon or midnight

(two equal) halves


(ultimate) goal

undergraduate (student)

(underground) subway

(unexpected) emergency

(unexpected) surprise

(unintentional) mistake

(universal) panacea

(unnamed) anonymous

UPC (code)

(usual) custom


vacillate (back and forth)

(veiled) ambush

(very) pregnant

(very) unique

visible (to the eye)


(wall) mural

warn (in advance)

weather (conditions)

weather (situation)

whether (or not)

(white) snow

Paul Thayer
Thayer Literary Services

Paul Thayer is a full-time professional book editor with more than 35 years of experience. During that time he worked in the trenches of the real world of writers, editors, and publishers. He uses his extensive knowledge to help writers who still have a lot to learn, offering them critiques and line editing of their work.

Did you like this post? If so, please click Like and share it.


One thought on “Writing tip: Avoid redundant expressions

Comments are closed.