I’m not sure exactly when this started, but my recollection is that it began spreading in the late 1980’s. What am I talking about? I’m talking about a scourge that spread so quickly and has become so prevalent that it is practically inescapable in today’s world. I’m talking about redundant-speak.
It started small. People in meetings started saying things like “continue on” when continue would have done just fine. Then other people who presumably didn’t want to be left out must have come to the realization that they weren’t being clear enough if they didn’t say things twice in the same sentence. Memos suddenly needed to be “distributed around” and “circulated around”, when distributing or circulating them would have been sufficient.
With the price of words skyrocketing, it should be clear that we need to decrease down the amount of redundant speak (did you catch the one in this sentence?). Okay, so words aren’t really getting more expensive, but there’s still no need for the prevalence of this kind of talk. Communicating clearly and effectively isn’t difficult. Removing modifier words isn’t difficult, either. The first step is recognizing that there’s a redundancy in the first place. Next time you listen to someone speak, listen for a two word combination that describes one thing. If the description tells you two different things, then it’s fine. However, if the second word, or sometimes a supporting phrase, doesn’t add anything, then it’s redundant.
Once you recognize this kind of speech and writing, you can examine your own. Once you start removing the redundancies, your communication will be clearer and more direct. Try not to revert back to your previous behavior (did you catch “revert back” when “revert” will do?). Help remove redundant speak from the world until it’s totally abolished.
For a nice list of redundancies, check out: http://kcweb.nhmccd.edu/employee/jsamuels/redund.htm