A Reason for Redundancy?

rogersgeorge on April 5th, 2016

Regular readers of this blog might remember that I preach that good writing gets rid of extra words. It’s called being concise. Sometimes you might feel justified in putting in that extra word on purpose. Not that I think it’s a good enough reason when all you’re doing is explaining something, but here are two examples where redundancy is deliberate, I think.

The reason for the redundancies, by the way, is to create emphasis.


I confess, I agree with the guy holding the marker, but take the whole cartoon, enlarge it, and put it on the office wall. It’s an example of itself, and it has a pretty good punch. The url is in the cartoon, but here’s a link so you can enjoy more of this guy’s generally pretty funny work.

A more serious example, from the Terms and Disclaimer page in a book:

All publications from FamilySurvivalSystem.com and its related companies are strictly for informational purposes only.

Strictly and only–both words aren’t necessary. You get the meaning just fine with either one. But the use of both adds emphasis to the idea that they strongly don’t want to take responsibility for what you might do as a result of reading their material. I don’t read all of every disclaimer that crosses my desk, but I suspect this is fairly typical nervous-about-getting-sued text.

So okay, in some contexts emphasis is appropriate, and redundant words can convey that emphasis. But I really really hope you don’t do it very often.

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