I saw it with my own eyes!
An uneducated man who never went to school
A man without his eyes sees through his heart
It is an actual fact that
The idea is wonderfully miraculous
He arrived at midnight 12
At the strike of 12 noon, he departed
Early dawn prayer is good
A sum total of ten people
He is a close companion to me
Each and every man should attend
The reason was exactly the same
A period of eleven hours
One and the same
And the list never ends! Never really ends. These are all redundant words you can see in amateurish writing. If only you are a bit more careful, you can avoid redundancy in your writing. The redundancies in the examples are italicized; and they are actually very self-explanatory.
When 12 itself strikes at noon, why you need an extra ‘noon’? So is the case with your extra-close companion. Look at “dark nights,” are there bright ones? Gifts are always free, otherwise why would you not charge them? “Actual fact” is another despicable usage. And “repeat again” is indefensible.
Certain other blunt usages come with the scantiness of vocabulary: for instance, see the third example above of “Man without eyes.” The ‘blind’ is not a word that should be easily missed. However, when it comes to subtler and more technical situations, people tend to make such usages as “A man who repairs watches,” “A woman who assists in pregnancy,” etc.
The main reason of redundancy is not understanding the actual meaning of the word. The reason behind this is the overuse of a particular word in different, largely unrelated contexts, mostly to emphasize it. For instance, the word ‘noon’ is highly used with the word 12 to give accentuation. But this is where you go wrong. An emphasis not based on meaning (not even the figurative) of words is not an emphasis at all.
You should give more importance to the meaning of words. Companion is anyone that accompanies someone all the time. Like, Mumtaz Mahal was a companion to Shah Jahan. So, companions cannot be closer than that. It is the closest a friend can be. Most probably, your spouse is your companion. However, a companion who is close to you (meaning near you) is a close companion (of course, you can have more than one companion, and one of them can be away in toilet for some time!). Distinguish this physical sense from the figurative sense.
To avoid these redundancies, since they actually make your work jarring and boring, do check up the meaning of words. You should take a pledge never to type a word in an inappropriate situation. Never, ever! Always find the right, the best word to use in a situation and use it. When you want to be crazy with your language—crazy-creative—you can well go about it. But being creative is not about writing unnecessary words that can only lengthen your pieces of writings and weaken the point you wish to make. You can just be prolific and experiment a lot without any actual result being seen. So, be as concise and to the point as possible, and experiment within your realm, which itself is quite vast and productive.
Copyright © Lenin Nair 2008