Tighten Your Writing by Condensing Tautologies

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To tighten each sentence, search for redundant words where the meaning could be clearly expressed with a single word. Most writers know to eliminate doublets and triplets, but overlook other redundancies in:

  • word pairs or groups where the meaning of a word implies or includes its modifier
  • word pairs or groups where the specific word implies the general category
  • throw-away phrases that describe the writer’s intentions, give directions to the reader, or describe the structure of the text

These redundancies are tautologies. According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, a tautology is a “needless repetition of an idea, statement, or word” or “a statement that is true by virtue of its logical form alone.” When you’re tightening your writing, look for tautologies. Ask whether a nearby word already provides the information or if it must be true because of the other words it's combined with. Then delete the redundancy.

Practice Precision Editing

Leaving tautologies in your writing shows sloppy style and poor diction. Check out some examples of how WordRake will find and fix tautologies. We’ve organized the categories based on Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace (5th Edition) by Joseph M. Williams and Joseph Bizup. Do you commit these diction crimes?

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Redundant Modifiers That State What Readers Can Infer

We received a free gift for spending $500.

He was focused on his professional career.

She avoided sharing her personal beliefs at work.

They tested three separate programs to choose which one best served the company’s needs.

Lisa hated speaking in front of groups of complete strangers.

The unpaid intern did only the bare minimum at work.

I had to decide how to proceed forward with the investigation.

The housing NGO finished the building together with local volunteers.

The earthquake totally destroyed the city.

The promotion ceremony raised the total number of group leaders to 193.

He was absolutely certain that he had been reincarnated.

Please read the entire article for a more complete discussion.

She was an incredibly a unique person.

The party was canceled because it was raining outside.

The defendants disagreed with the final outcome of the trial.

They discussed their plans for the future.

You need a way to get a response back quickly.

Animosity towards these foreign-born migrants skyrocketed after the war.

The country increased its foreign exports by 13% that year.

These neighborhoods are ideal for future growth and development.

Social media ads are an alternative option to sign-based marketing for local businesses.

Her résumé was promising because of her past experience with similar software.

Every international traveler needs the basic essentials in their carry-on.

The course was a mandatory requirement for graduation.

Redundant Pairs of General and Specific Words

Clients appreciate that John is honest in character.

I reviewed the project’s progress during that period of time and identified key milestones.

During that period of time, our team reviewed the project’s progress.

The candidate’s qualifications are indeed unusual in nature, making them stand out.

She has run in 43 marathons, to be precise.

The change would increase profits but could potentially violate consumer privacy.

If you agree with the changes, go ahead and select “continue” on the screen.

The world we live in is getting more connected by the day.

The book was authored by a local reporter.

Can you tell me how, exactly, it happened?

The money did not suffice to cover the debt.

Here is the order information for your records.

Throw-Away Metadiscourse Phrasing

You can rest assured that we We are taking this matter seriously.

Take some time to think Think about what you’d love to learn.

We ask that you Please visit the FAQs page before calling our offices.

If you’ve taken charge in an emergency, you may want to recruit bystanders to help.

Finally, take a second to put these investments in perspective.

This guide will help you identify concerns and questions you may have before you start the loan process.

It is known that Olympia originally housed far more athlete statues, but time brought ruin to many of them, leaving Delphi as the main site of these statues.

As we all know, untreated Untreated depression often leads to other mental disorders or a worsening of the condition.

It’s no secret that the The department has its problems.

If the company is declaring bankruptcy because of employee theft, I think email security is the least of its problems.

In that case, I think, we are justified in rejecting the logic as irrational.

Ms. Klein’s testimony is clear that, in her opinion, Mr. Smith was the most qualified candidate in the applicant pool.

In my opinion we We should not use conjecture to imagine what the parties agreed to do.

It is my view that none None of the more recent drafts are sufficiently complete.

My belief is that museum Museum boards must approach new cultural exhibits with caution.

As I stated previously, the The potato is the tastiest carbohydrate.

Other Redundant Phrases that Can Be Trimmed or Deleted

They worked in close proximity to near each other but never argued over desk space.

Her character is a completely an original creation.

Their fraudulent intent is obvious in the sheer magnitude size of their scheme, which overstated the company’s revenues by a total of $86.1 million.

Instantly Cut Clutter

Ready to write tight? Practice paring down tautologies with WordRake. WordRake is the premier software for catching redundant expressions in your writing. It deletes hundreds of redundant words to make your writing clear and concise. It goes beyond the typical examples spit out by search engines. WordRake catches many less obvious redundancies—even the ones that have become a seemingly normal part of English. WordRake will reduce your word count and keep your readers’ attention by removing tautologies and superfluous language. Try a 7-day free trial now.

About the Authors

Danielle Cosimo is a Language Usage Analyst for WordRake. Before joining the team, she was a translator and editor for non-native English speakers applying to degree programs in the United States and the UK. Danielle is formally trained in linguistics and has a certificate in computer programming. She is fluent in English, Portuguese, and Spanish. She applies her interdisciplinary knowledge to create WordRake’s editing algorithms.

Ivy B. Grey is the Chief Strategy & Growth Officer for WordRake. Before joining the team, she practiced bankruptcy law for ten years. In 2020, Ivy was recognized as an Influential Woman in Legal Tech by ILTA. She has also been recognized as a Fastcase 50 Honoree and included in the Women of Legal Tech list by the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center. Follow Ivy on Twitter @IvyBGrey or connect with her on LinkedIn.

The easiest way for writers to create more precise and highly polished writing.

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Our Story

WordRake founder Gary Kinder has taught over 1,000 writing programs for AMLAW 100 firms, Fortune 500 companies, and government agencies. He’s also a New York Times bestselling author. As a writing expert and coach, Gary was inspired to create WordRake when he noticed a pattern in writing errors that he thought he could address with technology.

In 2012, Gary and his team of engineers created WordRake editing software to help writers produce clear, concise, and effective prose. It runs in Microsoft Word and Outlook, and its suggested changes appear in the familiar track-changes style. It saves time and gives confidence. Writing and editing has never been easier.