Redundancy in Language

Redundancy refers to the use of unnecessary or repetitive words, phrases, or information in language. It can occur in both spoken and written communication and can detract from clarity and conciseness. Understanding and eliminating redundancy is essential for effective communication. In this section, we will explore the concept of redundancy, its impact on language, and provide examples to help identify and avoid it.

  1. Definition of Redundancy: Redundancy occurs when additional words or information are used that do not contribute to the meaning or understanding of a sentence. It often results in unnecessary repetition or verbosity.

Example 1: “I saw it with my own eyes.” (The phrase “with my own eyes” is redundant because “I saw it” already implies personal observation.)

  1. Redundancyin Word Choices: Redundancy can occur when words or phrases with similar meanings are used together. Choosing one word that effectively conveys the intended meaning is usually sufficient.

Example 2: “She added an additional bonus.” (The word “additional” is redundant because “bonus” already implies something extra.)

  1. Redundancy in Phrases and Expressions: Certain phrases or expressions are inherently redundant due to their repetitive nature. Avoiding such redundancies helps to streamline the language.

Example 3: “I will RSVP in advance.” (The term “RSVP” stands for “répondez s’il vous plaît,” which means “please respond” in French. Therefore, saying “RSVP in advance” is redundant.)

  1. Redundancy in Information: Redundancy can also occur when unnecessary or repetitive information is included in a sentence, particularly when the context already provides sufficient understanding.

Example 4: “He ate a hamburger with cheese on top.” (The phrase “on top” is redundant because cheese is typically placed on top of a hamburger.)

  1. Eliminating Redundancy: To eliminate redundancy, carefully review your sentences and consider whether each word, phrase, or piece of information adds value or clarity. Simplify your language and remove any unnecessary repetitions.

Example 5 (Redundant): “I personally think that it’s a good idea.” (The word “personally” is redundant because “I think” already implies personal opinion.) Example 5 (Revised): “I think it’s a good idea.”

Conclusion: Avoiding redundancy is crucial for clear and concise communication. By eliminating unnecessary repetitions, choosing precise words, and ensuring that the information provided is essential and not already implied, you can enhance the effectiveness of your language. Practice identifying and removing redundancy to improve your writing and speaking skills, making your communication more impactful and engaging.


Exercise-1 Cross out the redundant word in each of the following sentences.

1. The money that I have is sufficient enough for my needs.
2. Bill asked the speaker to repeat again because he had not heard him the first time.
3. The class advanced forward rapidly.
4. She returned back to her hometown after she had finished her degree.
5. I am nearly almost finished with this chapter.
6. My teacher he said to listen to the news on the radio in order to practice listening comprehension.
7. The new innovations at the World’s Fair were fascinating.
8. My sister she found a store that imported food from our country.
1. enough 3. forward 5. almost 7. new
2. again 4. back 6. he 8. she


Cross out the redundant word in each of the following sentences.

1. The sting of a scorpion is painful but rarely, seldom fatal.
2. There are almost nearly 5,000 miles of streets in New York City.
4. The first canal built in the United States connected together the Santee River and the Copper River in South California.
4. The Gila monster is the single only poisonous lizard found in the United States.
5. Around approximately ten percent of all solid wastes is glass.
6. The chief main ingredients in soap are fats and chemicals called alkalis.
7. The flowers of certain plants, such as for example daisies, are called composite flowers.
8. Most of the cities of the American West are separated apart from one another by vast, relatively unpopulated expanses of mountains and deserts.
1. seldom 3. together 5. approximately 7. for example
2. nearly 4. only 6. main 8. apart

Good writing requires fewer words, not more. To get a higher score on the IELTS or TOEFL, you need to say as much as possible within a limited number of words.


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