Let’s continue on our journey of challenging your word use habits in workplace communication and business writing. Effective word use is the same, whether the medium of communicating those words is spoken or written. And remember, the responses ‘That’s the first word I thought of’ … or … ‘That’s the one I usually use’ don’t work very well with audience centric messages.
Redundancies Are Laughable
We’ve gotten into some sloppy habits regarding redundancy. While this tendency may not be a major problem in verbal or written communication, it does waste words and the result is often amusing. Unless you’re a comedian, you probably don’t want people chuckling about what you said or wrote.
- So ‘advance planning’ or ‘planning ahead’ can be replaced with ‘planning’. It’s a future activity and we would never plan backwards (although that might make our results look better).
- How often does something as simple and innocent as ‘ … 9:00 a.m. Wednesday morning … ‘ creep into your vocabulary? Even during Daylight Savings Time, ‘9:00 a.m.’ is still morning.
- While ‘I will call you tomorrow’ or ‘I will call you later today’ both make sense, ‘I will call you later’ doesn’t. The verb ‘will call’ is in the future tense already.
- ‘Close proximity’ is redundant. ‘Proximity’’ means near by.
- ‘Consensus’ means what most people think, so no need to waste words with ‘consensus of opinion’.
- ‘Each and every’ both mean the same thing, so no need for both. Pick the one you like best.
- Why would we want to say ‘merge together’? Do we ever merge apart? ‘Merge’ says is all. Same goes for ‘meet together’ or ‘join together’.
- ‘New innovation’? Are there old innovations? ‘Innovation’ works fine by itself.
So, can you make a commitment to tighten your WordPower and consciously avoid such obvious redundancies as ‘currently pending’, ‘exactly the same’, ‘filled to capacity’, ‘few in number’, ‘past history’, ‘refer back’ and, two of my favorites – ‘red in color’ and ‘completely destroyed’. Your readers and listeners will appreciate your efforts, even if they enjoyed the occasional chuckle at your expense.
A Very Unique Request
And while I’m on this rant, please humor me about ‘very unique’. ‘Unique’ can’t be modified. Ever. Period. Although, you do see it done all the time. When someone asks you ‘What’s unique about you?’ the grammatically correct answer is ‘Only my DNA and finger prints.’
In future articles, we’ll continue discussing more typical word habits and audience-centric alternatives. If you have any questions or comments, call or send me a note. But, please plan ahead so you don’t call me before 7:00 a.m. in the morning.
Until then, go take even more pain out of your workplace communicate … and continue harnessing WordPower.