While there are elegant uses of repetition, repetition that clarifies a point, repetition that emphasizes a point, and repetition that adds rhythm and euphony to a sentence, more often than not, repetition is used mistakenly to say the same thing again and again repetitively.
For instance, I try to go to sleep by twelve midnight and I like to eat my midday luncheon at twelve noon. In the morning, I’ve been writing the history of the life of Ellen Wasserman; in the afternoon, I take my young puppy for a walk by circling around the field.
One could say that circling around is one and the same. Personally, I think I would agree and have a consensus of opinion, but the purpose of this post is to demonstrate and show my readers how tiresome and tedious it is to reading something again and again, twice.
Samuel Johnson advised writers to “avoid ponderous ponderosity.” Here’s how:
- Avoid wordy phrases, like the ones I used above: Personally, I think I would agree and history of the life of (biography). Other examples are as far as I’m concerned, because of the fact that, have a tendency to, and such phrases people use to beef up their word count – and put their readers to sleep.
- Avoid the obvious. Examples from above include young puppy (is there any other kind?), twelve midnight and twelve noon (midnight, noon), midday luncheon and circle around. Other examples include cooperate together, personal opinion, free gift, new innovations and my favorite: past history.
- Avoid pairing synonyms (even though many people do): exact same, each and every, one and the same, longer in length, actual fact, again and again.
Deborah Lee Luskin an award-winning author, a radio commentator, and an educator who has been teaching writing for nearly thirty years.