Why Use Two Words When Only One Is Needed?

A list of trimmable words—Benjamin Dreyer says these words, shown in italic, are “easily disposed redundancies”— from Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style:

ABM missile

absolutely certain

added bonus

advance planning

advance warning

all-time record

blend together

capitol building

closed fist

close proximity

CNN network

general consensus

continue on

crisis situation

depreciated in value

direct confrontation

disappear from sight

earlier in time

end product

erupt violently

exact same

fall down

few in number

final outcome

follow after

free gift

full gamut

fuse together

future plans

gather together

glance briefly

hollow tube

integrate with each other

join together

kneel down

last of all

lift up

merge together

might possibly

moment in time

mutual cooperation

orbit around


passing fad

past history

PIN number


raise up or rise up

reason why

regular routine

shuttle back and forth

sink down

slightly ajar

sudden impulse

surrounded on all sides

swoop down

sworn affadavit

undergraduate student

unexpected surprise

unsolved mystery


usual custom

wall mural

Q: What’s the most redundant redundancy you’ve ever encountered?

Dreyer:  “He implied without quite saying.”



  1. Richard Mattersdorff says

    But what about when words are economized and become nonsensical. FRACTION is used to mean ‘a small fraction,” whereas nine-tenths is also “a fraction.”

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