Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Grammar Queen on Removing Repetitious Redundancies

Good morning, class! Yes, GQ is back after a delightful getaway to Green Mountain Dude Ranch. I think I surprised everyone by showing up at Ruthy’s retreat, but I did behave myself and didn’t correct anyone’s grammar the whole time.

And believe me, when one is living among cowhands, one will undoubtedly encounter innumerable grammar faux pas. I chose to ignore them, however, as my time with Jake (sigh!) was too special!

Alas, now we must return to the real world and get down to the business of polishing your manuscripts. Today’s lecture is on the subject of redundancy, or needless repetition, something a skilled writer should strive to avoid.

Here are several frequently used redundant phrases:

Added bonus. How else does one receive a bonus, if not additionally?

Basic fundamentals. By definition a fundamental is basic!

Cooperate together. Hard to cooperate separately, in my opinion.

Difficult dilemma. Have you ever experienced an easy dilemma?

Free gift. Unless, perhaps, the gift has strings attached.

Past experience. Is there any other kind?

Plan ahead. Rather late to plan in arrears, wouldn’t you say?

Unintended mistake.
One hopes one does not make mistakes on purpose!

Very unique. Something is either one of a kind, or it is not.

Another source of redundancy among writers involves common body language:

Jake nodded his head.
Can you really picture this handsome cowboy nodding his shoulder or knee?

Will shrugged his shoulders. I expect he would find it difficult to shrug a hand or elbow, even if his arm were not tucked tenderly around Jenny!

Repetition sometimes rears its ugly head in the form of repeated words, phrases, or character actions. For example, as I assisted Myra with recent book edits, we discovered her characters frequently huffed to show indignation or flicked their gazes when distracted or flustered. In revising her latest work-in-progress, we've encountered an abundance of characters squeezing their eyes shut or propping hips against desks or door frames. Your pet word or phrase may change from manuscript to manuscript, so be on your guard!

And now, as always, GQ has a quiz for you. Point out the redundancies in the following sentences:
  1. Audra lives in close proximity to the mountains.

  2. Foreign imports are Cara’s favorite kind of automobile.

  3. Debby received no advance warning that her flight would be cancelled.

  4. The end result of Glynna’s weekend of writing was a completed manuscript.

  5. Janet’s book signing had to be postponed until later.

  6. Julie first began her writing career hoping to write the next Gone With the Wind.

  7. Mary stayed up until 2:00 a.m. in the morning to finish reading the mystery novel.

  8. Absolutely essential to Missy’s writing routine is a strong cup of coffee.

  9. Pantser-writer Myra does only minimal advance planning before beginning a new book.

  10. During the course of her book launch, Pam held a successful Facebook party.

  11. Ruthy accepts the consensus of opinion that she is occasionally bossy.

  12. While researching her novel, Sandra experienced a major breakthrough.

  13. Tina closely scrutinizes the Weekend Edition before taking it live.

Report your responses in a comment, and GQ will assess your skills in reducing redundancy. GQ also invites you to share your own most commonly used redundancies along with any tips you have found for overcoming them. Mention “GQ Grammar Review” in your comment if you would like to be entered in a drawing to have Grammar Queen examine up to 10 double-spaced pages for grammar, punctuation, and redundancy problems.


Carol Moncado said...

Here goes nothin'...

1. Audra lives in close proximity to the mountains. Is there another kind of proximity?

2. Foreign imports are Cara’s favorite kind of automobile. There are no domestic imports.

3. Debby received no advance warning that her flight would be cancelled. Yeah. I got nothin'. I blame the plotting this weekend. It cause the ear pain which causes me to stare at this one and go "uhhhhhhh"...

4. The end result of Glynna’s weekend of writing was a completed manuscript. Results always come at the end.

5. Janet’s book signing had to be postponed until later. You can't postpone something earlier.

6. Julie first began her writing career hoping to write the next Gone With the Wind. You can't second began...

7. Mary stayed up until 2:00 a.m. in the morning to finish reading the mystery novel. There is no 2:00 am in the afternoon...

8. Absolutely essential to Missy’s writing routine is a strong cup of coffee. Can something be sort of essential?

9. Pantser-writer Myra does only minimal advance planning before beginning a new book. You can't plan not in advance.

10. During the course of her book launch, Pam held a successful Facebook party. Can Facebook be anything but a successful party???

11. Ruthy accepts the consensus of opinion that she is occasionally bossy. Using the word consensus means it's the overarching opinion of many. Or something like that. I might also strike the "occasionally" though.

12. While researching her novel, Sandra experienced a major breakthrough. Though I do believe I've had a minor breakthrough before so perhaps I'm wrong?

13. Tina closely scrutinizes the Weekend Edition before taking it live. Can you distantly scrutinize?

Helen Gray said...

Helen brews coffee in proximity to the kitchen. It's ready.

Grammar Queen edited a first chapter for me several months ago. The book it is from should be released in September, 2014. (3rd of the series)

Thanks, GQ.


Helen Gray said...

A word I hear all the time that bothers me is reiterate. Re-repeat?

What's your word on this, GQ?

Jenny Blake said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenny Blake said...

I worked them all out but ten but now will check what Carol said. Ok Carol couldn't help me.

Carol I think 3 is advance warning.
Debby received no warning her flight would be cancelled would say it all.

You know Sandra may have experienced a minor breakthrough?

just so you know and are not confused its freezing cold here today (yes I used a repetious redundancy but had to get the point across and that is Im freezing!) Need a real Will to go get me some wood to burn, Im trying to conserve it but today the house is so cold I had to start it earlier.

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Oh, Grammar Queen. So good to see you again. Are you still in touch with Jake?

Love this post. I find I tend to get redundant when I want to emphasize something or I am just trying to make a word count. Just plain laziness.

I caught a redundancy while I was working on my free business cards for RWA.

"WWII Medical Historical Romance"

Fortunately, I knocked out "historical" when I came to my senses.

Peace and love your cowboy boots, Julie

Jackie said...

Good morning GQ. I hit snooze (notice I didn't say on my alarm clock) too many time and don't have time to work on the assignment.

Thanks for sharing. You always make me smile.

Mary Curry said...

I agree with Carol's answers and Helen on advance warning, but the FB one caught me too. I' guessing that During the course is the redundancy because if you're in the course of doing something, you're during it, but I'm not sure how I'd rework it that wouldn't sound awkward.

So, GQ, I have a question for you (redundant, I know, because of course it's for you).

Is it ever preferable to leave the redundancy because the sentence sounds awkward to the reader without it? I'm thinking that so many of these are so ingrained in our consciousness, that it pulls you out of the story for it to be done differently.and isn't that a cardinal error?


Rose said...

Great information, Grammar Queen....and one more thing for us to consider during revisions.

Carol Moncado said...

I hit snooze on my phone this morning. FWIW...

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Grammar Queen, you look so spiffy in your boots!

I tend to write redundant words when I try to emphasize a point. As Mary mentioned, is there ever a time when it is an effective tool?

My own redundant example? I had "WWII historical medical romance" on my free cards for RWA. Fortunately, it was a short-lived mistake since I quickly realized that um, WWII IS historic.

Peace, Julie

Mary Hicks said...

Yep, found them all.
It's easier to find those errors when searching for them in something someone else has written, than when putting words together in the heat of an idea, creating your own exciting story. :-)

The best reason of all for stepping away from your writing for awhile. When you return with a fresh eye, these things jump out at you.

Sometimes... occasionally...

Mary Curry said...

Joining in with the "snooze" ladies this morning. I finally discovered why I've been oversleeping. Turns out my air conditioner is louder than my alarm. My brain tunes out the hum of the AC so it doesn't hear the alarm.

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, Grammar Queen! UGH. These are so easy to fall into because we've spent a lifetime HEARING these redundancies SAID. We're blinded to them due to endless repetition, they're embedded in our brains! Thanks for the reminder and great illustrations!

Audra Harders said...

Ahhh, Grammar Queen, you are always a breath of fresh air, LOL!

It is so easy to write redundancies in the first draft. I'm so glad you peeked over Myra's shoulder while she edited. She is lucky to have you.

Would you like to come to my place and peek over my shoulder, too? Pretty please??

Myra Johnson said...

Good morning, all! GQ asked me to tell you she will check in soon. She's finishing her morning cup of Earl Grey and cannot be disturbed.

And believe me, you do NOT want to disturb GQ before she's fully awake!

kaybee said...

One of my favorites is "free gift," which is used for anything from the trinkets at a Tupperware party to God's redemption. Which was done once for all, no repetition needed!
I also love "each and every." If it's an "Each," you don't need an "Every." This is a standard in public radio fund-raising drives, especially toward the end when they are getting punchy.
Kathy Bailey
Pre-pubbed in New Hampshire

Sandra Leesmith said...

Grammar Queen you are always a hoot. And I am soooo guilty of redundancy. My characters nod heads, shrug shoulders and wink their eyes all the time. LOL

Thanks for reminding us to look for those redundancies.

Janet Dean said...

Grammar Queen, thanks for this fun post! I've shrugged shoulders and nodded heads, but I'm doing it less. Must be your influence.

Any word from Jake? :-) I've got romance on my mind.

The quiz was fun. My answers agree with Carol's except for Number 3, advance is redundant and Number 10, no need for "the course of" when During her book launch is sufficient.

I brought apple fritters! Yummy with a cup of Helen's steaming coffee.


Ruth Logan Herne said...


First, GQ, it's nice to have you here, correcting and advising and I must say you're NICER THAN USUAL, so the time with Jake was... rewarding???

Yes? No?

And I'm going to be THAT PERSON and ask the burning question... wait, was that redundant? No, because not ALL questions burn... Okay, back on track:

Are there future plans between you and our beloved Jake MacKillian?????? TELL ALL!!!!

Your post reminds me to double and triple check this annoying habit of mine to avoid giving copy editors headaches-of-a-Ruthy-dimension.

I must be more careful and what a fun, great reminder!!!

GQ!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!

(GQ faints because she nevah, evah thought she'd hear such a thing out of Ruthy's mouth!!!!)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I would like to add, though, that these redundancies can be absolutely real and charming in dialogue...

What old lady doesn't tap her cane or her finger on a table or chest and say "Each and every one of them!!!"

Or a guy driving home a point: "And what was the END RESULT of that choice?"

So I think they can be used to have fun.... and to show annoying characteristics.... Or SOUTHERN CHARM, LOL! when used in dialogue or internal thought. It's like over-using exclamation points when writing small children... and old ladies.


It tends to work quite well in both cases!

Jeanne T said...

GQ, you ROCK those boots! Your smile looks a little bit brighter these days. :)

I loved this. Thanks for helping me identify some redundancies that may appear in my writing. I'll keep an eye out for them.

I can't do the quiz right now, but I'll try and come back. It's a writing day, sans kids, so I'm planning to spend 5-6 hours following Carol Moncado's example and nestle into a booth at Panera. :)

The Grammar Queen said...

Here at last, Seekervillagers, and feeling so much more alert and ready to tackle a day of grammar instruction. Thank you, Myra, for making my apologies to our students.

First up, I see we have our dear CAROL. Such a clever girl you are--and witty, too! I see you missed questions 3 and 10.

In #3, warnings usually don't come after the fact, so the word "advance" is redundant.

In #10, "the course of" is the redundancy, unnecessarily modifying "during."

I must admit, I pondered "major breakthrough" as well. But my sources describe this phrase as a redundancy. What can I say?

The Grammar Queen said...

HELEN, how delightful that your novels will soon be gracing bookshelves everywhere! Congratulations on this achievement, and I'm so glad I could be of assistance!

The Grammar Queen said...

By the way, HELEN, I have just reviewed the definitions of "iterate" and "reiterate" in my handy Webster's Dictionary. As they both essentially have the same meaning, I am at a loss to enlighten you further.

christykennard said...

Hmmm...I struggled with a couple of these.

#3. My thought is that if a flight is cancelled there is never an advance warning. Is that right??

#10. Well, how how do you have a Facebook party? Seems like a strange way to say that.

I missed it on #11, but after reading the other replies I just slap my forehead. "Consensus of opinion" Of course!

GQ Grammar Review was a challenge for me especially since this is my first edition. I look forward to more. I am new to writing and am having a blast learning the craft!

The Grammar Queen said...

JENNY, I'm so delighted you discerned the "advance warning" redundancy. For that, I will forgive you for being "freezing cold." Sometimes a little redundancy is good for the soul.

As for Will's whereabouts, I'm sure he is back at the ranch assisting Jake with the cattle. Alas, we must forge ahead on our own as two independent women!

The Grammar Queen said...

JACKIE, which "snooze," exactly, did you hit? One only hopes this isn't a nickname for a family member or pet.

The Grammar Queen said...

MARY CURRY, you are right about "during the course of." And yes, many of these phrases are second nature to us, and we use them (and hear or read them) without a second thought.

However, when it comes time to edit your manuscript and you find yourself needing to cut, repetition is one of the first places to look.

And of course, you NEVER want to pull the reader out of the story, so if phrasing sounds noticeably awkward without a redundancy, then use your best judgment.

The Grammar Queen said...

ROSE, thank you for agreeing with me. It would be a mistake not to.

CAROL, thank you for that elucidation. I hope you didn't injure your phone.

The Grammar Queen said...

JULIE H.S., I'm so glad you like the boots! These are my gift from Jake, and I can hardly bring myself to take them off!

Certainly there will be times when redundancy is fitting. For example, if a character in your story must display excitement or enthusiasm, or even frustration, as in Jenny's case with the weather being "freezing cold," then one might reasonably expect some redundancy.

The Grammar Queen said...

MARY HICKS, I do strongly advise all writers to step away from their manuscripts periodically so that they can return with a fresh eye for revisions. GQ has just spent two weeks with Myra reviewing her latest work. We have both been amazed at the little things that slipped by during the writing phrase.

Debby Giusti said...

GQ, I'm worried about my cancelled flight. :)

Love the boots!

I'm guilty of everything you mentioned. Shame on me! Revising a manuscript this week. Will try to delete repetition.

Repeat: Will TRY!

The Grammar Queen said...

GLYNNA, yes, many of these redundancies are ingrained in us to the point that we don't even recognize them until someone like me points them out. Aren't you so blessed to have me in Seekerville?

The Grammar Queen said...

AUDRA, my dear, you always know where to find me should you need my assistance. As for thinking Myra is lucky to have me, would you please reiterate (or just iterate would be fine) that opinion to her? Sometimes she can be so difficult.

The Grammar Queen said...

KATHY, thank you for mentioning another obvious redundancy, "each and every." See how easily it is for the human brain to let these slip into our conversations?

The Grammar Queen said...

SANDRA, I hope I have awakened your sensibilities to these little ways repetition creeps into our writing.

However, I have never thought of myself as a "hoot." Is this a compliment . . . or perhaps a veiled affront???

The Grammar Queen said...

JANET, what delicious apple fritters! Thank you! And I'm delighted to know I have been a good influence on you. I do try my best.

(Was that a redundancy? Could I possibly have tried my worst?)

The Grammar Queen said...

Pass the smelling salts, please!!! RUTHY LOVES ME!!!!!!

Ah, Jake . . . one can hardly mention his name without one's heart going pit-a-pat. To answer both you and JANET, yes, romance is in the air. Where it goes from here, however, I cannot say. We are taking things one day at a time.

Ruthy, perhaps you really should ask Jake where things stand. You have known him much longer than I.

The Grammar Queen said...

By the way, yes to your comment about using redundancy effectively in dialogue, RUTHY. We must be true to our characterizations.

The Grammar Queen said...

JEANNE T, I'm so glad you like my boots! Don't they go well with my outfit? I couldn't leave my autographed photo of Jake at home, either.

Oh, and did I mention Jake is giving me guitar lessons? See? It is possible to teach an old girl new tricks!

Have a wonderful and productive writing day, my dear!

The Grammar Queen said...

CHRISTY, welcome to the crazy world of writing! Everyone here had to begin by learning the basics. The old saying is true: practice makes perfect.

Well, probably not perfect, but you do get better and better the more you write.

I hope by now you have discerned the correct responses to the quiz. Please let me know if you have any questions.

The Grammar Queen said...

DEBBY, I'm sure you will be able to rebook should your flight be cancelled. All the best with your book revisions, and do keep an eye on Myra at RWA next week. She can be so unruly.

Carol Moncado said...

Well, now...

She could have been warned about the cancellation way early. I had a friend whose flight was cancelled like three weeks ahead of time. That's advance warning rather than last minute warning isn't it?

It was her conference flight too... :(

Mary Connealy said...

You know, GQ, all of this is so true. What amazes me is that you can THINK OF EXAMPLES. This is the kind of thing that would just stump me while I tried to make my points.

Here's a redundancy this is a HUGE problem for writers....RUE errors.
Resist the urge to explain.

A perfect example of this.

Troy clenched his fists and gritted his teeth as he glared at her. He was furious.

The second sentence is DEAD. You've already told me he's furious through body language, then to tag it with He was furious is to call your reader stupid and your own writing insufficiently evocative.

In both instances....insulting.
Plus it drags the forward progress of your story to a halt.

The Grammar Queen said...

Even at the last minute, dear CAROL, the warning was in advance. One might more accurately say she was warned "well in advance," or she was warned "only moments ahead of the cancellation."

Tina Radcliffe said...

OH MY GOSH@!!! Look at you in those boots. A boot scootin' Grammar Babe.

Which brings up a few issues.

Grammar Queen is out on a date.

Scenario One.

A BLIND DATE. She discovers he is a repetitious redundancy. How does she remove him.

Scenario Two

Grammar Queen's date is a handsome hunky cowboy. His blue eyes framed by inky dark lashes, flash at her.
He leans in for a kiss.

Then he opens his mouth. (Oh those lips) and utters, "Can I?"

Do you correct him with "May I?" or do you simply nod and smile?

I've always wanted to ask you these questions. Not for myself mind you but for a friend.

Mary Connealy said...

I'll correct sentence #7
7. Mary, a lifelong insomniac and acknowledged moron, stayed up until 2:00 a.m. to finish reading the mystery novel.

The Grammar Queen said...

MARY, such strong points--thank you! Yes, we must resist the urge to explain to our readers what we have already made abundantly clear.

However, GQ cannot resist pointing out yet another redundancy. Has one ever made backward progress???

Mary Connealy said...

TINA! Bad example. GQ would never been with someone who used 'can' instead of 'may'.
She would have called that date off long before the kiss.
Even with Jake.

The Grammar Queen said...

Ah, TINA, the way your mind works is . . . mystifying.

Number one, GQ would not accept a blind date. Always know what you are getting into. That is why we have Google.

Number two, never look a gift horse (or handsome cowboy) in the mouth. Nodding and smiling can sometimes be the most appropriate response.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Tina closely scrutinizes the Weekend Edition before taking it live.

Tina anally and retentively scrutinized the Weekend Edition before taking it live.

Mary Connealy said...

DEBBY when you say you're guilty of all of this.......me too.
But it usually can be fixed in revisions. Somehow I don't see the 'nodding his head' and 'shrugging her shoulders' until that stage.
Or maybe I do see a lot of it, but much of it gets passed me (past me? GQ Alert) on the first writing.

Tina Radcliffe said...

HA!!! I knew it. WRONG CONNEALY!!!

Grammar Queen does not have ice in her veins. You owe me fifty bucks.

Mary Connealy said...

MARY CURRY, there is a difference between being pulled out of the story and being fresh.

Writing cliches is sometimes fine, even charming. But twisting cliches draws the reader in a bit tighter.

Rather than say, "that's the pot calling the kettle black."
You might say, "Pot, may I introduce you to Kettle?"

Mary Connealy said...

TINA, a week ago I would have disagreed with you about Grammar Queen's icy veins.
But now, with the boots and Jake, her warm and fuzzy side is revealed.
(or she's dropped her standards to chase after a bad boy....the stuff of romance novels)

Kav said...

Finally, a GQ topic I have actual experience with! I applaud this exercise involving the basic fundamentals of repetitious redundancies. I have often thought the exact same thing! This post is definitely something to refer back to time and time again. I have to confide with modesty that avoiding these rr traps comes as a natural instinct for me but of course I understand this isn’t so for each and every one of your readers. We must all work harder to cease and desist using these rrs. It will make our writing very unique and could well lead to the unexpected surprise of a contract offer! So proceed ahead, GGQ (Great Grammar Queen)!

Oh -- and obviously there is no need to enter me in the draw as I have this whole topic of repetitious redundancies well in hand…and that’s the honest truth!

Bwahahahahahaha! Truth be told my heart would come to a complete stop if the GQ set eyes on my ms. I’d rather face an armed gunman! And that’s not an over exaggeration!

The Grammar Queen said...

Ice in my veins??? I assure you, I am not as heartless as certain people make me out to be.

Opinionated, yes.

Controlling, yes.

Charming, beautiful, and tastefully attired, yes.

But cold-hearted? Never! If you don't believe me, ask Jake.

The Grammar Queen said...

Oh, KAV, my dear, dear girl. If I were the type to ROFLOL, I would indeed!

Everyone, attention, please!!! Reread Kav's comment for an excellent lesson on redundancies to avoid!

Extra credit to anyone who can enumerate her extensive display of rrs.

The Grammar Queen said...

MARY, do you suppose . . . oh, I do hesitate to ask this, but . . . might you consider featuring me as one of your Western heroines someday? It would be doubly delightful if you would also cast Jake as the hero.

And Will and Jenny could be our supporting characters. You know, the charming sidekicks who keep the central characters out of trouble.

Myra Johnson said...

Looks like everyone has gone to lunch. Either that, or you scared them away, GQ.

Who all wants to meet up with CAROL at Panera? I could go for a Fuji apple chicken salad and an iced green tea.

Janet Dean said...

Grammar Queen, your boots are a knock out. Proof that you're trying oh, so hard to fit into Jake's world. But, never doubt the lure of royalty.


Mary Connealy said...

Grammar Queen, here's good news. My work in progress has a Myra in it.

She's a scoundral who just released a bag of rattle snakes into the heroine's house but I'm going to redeem her. I swear.

Mary Connealy said...

BTW--She (Myra!) learned to handle deadly snakes while growing up in the Louisiana Bayou country.
She lived in the swamp.

Jan Drexler said...

I love these quizzes!

I got most of them right, but I think #8 had two answers: "absolutely essential" is obvious, but the other one is "strong coffee". Isn't coffee always strong?

Thanks for the mental exercises this morning, GQ!

Playground Monitor said...

I got most of them. The Facebook one threw me. I agree with the others that we're so used to hearing them we don't realize it's redundant.

Two that I hear on the radio are "same exact" and "whole entire." My ex-sister-in-law always said, "Blah de blah de blah my whole entire life." And I would cringe.

Marilyn -- who made round 3 of the contest (squeeeeeeeeeee!) and who would appreciate your continued voting here. I'm the first entry -- Better as a Memory.

Playground Monitor said...

I got most of them. The Facebook one threw me. I agree with the others that we're so used to hearing them we don't realize it's redundant.

Two that I hear on the radio are "same exact" and "whole entire." My ex-sister-in-law always said, "Blah de blah de blah my whole entire life." And I would cringe.

Marilyn -- who made round 3 of the contest (squeeeeeeeeeee!) and who would appreciate your continued voting here. I'm the first entry -- Better as a Memory.

Jake MacKillian said...

Ask for a kiss?

Heh. Amateur hour.

And that's all I'm sayin'. Nice boots, ma'am.

Real nice.

Tina Radcliffe said...

I'd kill redundantly for Panera!

Vince said...

Dear Madame the Queen:

As an Austinian ordinary language philosopher, who cut his teeth on, Sense and Sensibilia, I am having difficulty ascertaining the nature of your objection to redundancy.

Are you making the strong claim that redundancy is a per se grammatical error? Are you making the weak claim that redundancy is simply stylistically inelegant? Are you making the claim that redundancy is socially offensive to the grammar cognoscenti?

Like NASA, I appreciate redundancy. When speaking, redundancy gives your listeners twice the chance to understand what you are saying. In a way, being redundant can be an act of kindness and a boon to communication. This can be especially true when you are using technical terms that many in your audience may not be familiar with.

Do you object to ‘especially true’? Do you then disregard the importance of emphasis or connotation? Isn’t saying something is ‘especially true’ saying something quite different than simply saying something is true? In one case the truth may seem trivial while in the other case the truth is important to the matter at hand.

I think some of your examples of redundancies may not even be redundancies in given cases.

There can be many different results to an action with the end result being getting fired.

There can be a foreign import car like a Honda made in Japan and there can also be a domestic import like a Chevy made in Mexico. There can also be a domestic foreign car like a Honda made in Tennessee.

Julie may have first began her career as a 12 year old only to give up her dream of being a writer a few years later. Years later she began her career a second time when she graduated from college. Saying 'she first began her career' is to say something quite different than 'she began her career'. The former implies she gave up her career only to begin it again at a later date. Of course, if she never gave up her career plans, then to say ‘first began’ is not only redundant it is misleading and therein should lie the offense.

Audra may live in close proximity to the mountains (just a mile from the foothills) while Kayla just lives in the proximity to the mountains (eleven miles from the foothills). How wide is a proximity? If it has any width then there can be a far and a near proximity.

The warning about the attack on Pearle Harbor came a day after the attack.There was no advance warning.

There are things that are absolutely essential and things that are only essential.

Sugar may be essential to the recipe but in a pinch you could use honey; however, flour is absolutely essential because there is no substitute for it.

Then there is the famous scientist who said that science advances mostly by a series of minor breakthroughs and much less so by the spectacular major breakthroughs that win Nobel Prizes.

John was a man who shrugged his responsibilities as a father.

I think that if the ‘so-called’ redundancy provides more information than the non-redundant word or phrase then it should not be offensive. I have no logical problem with close proximity, shrugged shoulders, first began, end result, or major or minor breakthrough.

The question is this: Are the problems with redundancy a ‘tempest in a tea cup’ or are they ‘much to do about nothing’? (That’s a false dichotomy, Vince!) Busted.

I also think repetition and redundancy is a different kettle of fish. “He was big, big, big!” That’s repetitious. “He was big and large.” That’s redundant. “Here was big and large and I mean big and large.” That a repetitious redundancy.

I must admit however that since we are speaking the Queen’s English, I will have to defer to the Queen and do as you direct.


P.S. Actually I speak Teddy Roosevelt English.

The Grammar Queen said...

JANET, I'm delighted you like my boots! Just between you and me, I think Jake was taken by my sparkly crown. You know cowboys and glittery things!

The Grammar Queen said...

MARY, I'm sure Myra will make quite a lovely scoundrel. Not so sure she would willingly hold a bag of rattlesnakes, however.

What--she grew up in a swamp??? Well. That explains a lot.

The Grammar Queen said...

JAN, dearest, you clearly have not sampled the coffee made by Myra's brother-in-law. You can actually see through it!

The Grammar Queen said...

MARILYN, what excellent examples! Delighted to extend my congratulations on making it to the next round in voting! Outstanding!


The Grammar Queen said...


[tittering shyly]

No, my dear man, you never have to ask for a kiss from me!

Do you like the way I look in these lovely boots? Really????

The Grammar Queen said...

VINCE. One hardly knows where to begin. One is . . . slightly overwhelmed.

Now, whether one can be slightly overwhelmed or grossly overwhelmed, we shall not debate.

I now have a headache and must lie down.

However, I cannot depart without first addressing your sentence example, "John was a man who shrugged his responsibilities as a father."

The correct phrase would actually be, "John was a man who shrugged OFF his responsibilities as a father." He cannot shrug his responsibilities. He can only shrug them off.

Dianna Shuford said...

Okay, GQ, here goes. Since I haven't read any of the other posts you can grade my abilities without worrying that I cheated. LOL

1. close proximity
2. foreign imports
3. advance warning
4. end result
5. postponed until later
6. first began
7. 2am - morning
8. absolutely essential
9. advance planning
10. course - launch
11. consensus - opinion
12. major breakthrough
13. closely scrutinize

Here's one my crit partner and I recently discussed:

The stairs rose up majestically from the foyer.


Okay, now I'll go back and read everyone else's answers.

This was fun.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Dianna Shuford! I was just thinking about you the other day. How are your hands? How is your writing? Whassup???

Dianna Shuford said...

I'm doing well. It's been an eventful year. Case in point (is that redundant?), I'm babysitting my grandson right now who just dumped Goldfish crackers all over the table while I'm typing. **Sigh**

Hand works well- except when I try to pick up something heavy. I've been working on requested revisions so I've had a bit of tunnel vision lately.

I can see the Seekers have maintained their reputation for being lots of fun to hang out with.

Jake MacKillian said...

Miss Queen, I 'xpect you know that much 'bout me by now. A man shouldn't have to ask for what God says is rightfully his, and when a woman such as yourself... an' I don't care if you call that redundant or whatever, in our part of the hills, we treat women proper... declares feelings for a mountain man like me. Well.

No need to be askin' on either side.

But Buttercup is missin' you, and my niece is about out of her head wonderin' when you're comin' back. She says you have a gentlin' effect on me.

I just smile and let her go on believin' that.

Hurry home, darlin'. I'm leavin' the light on for you.

And a key under the mat.

Myra Johnson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christina Rich said...

Wow, I think this is one grammar thing I can do. Commas are another matter.

The Grammar Queen said...

Oops! Accidentally signed in with Myra's account! Let's try this again . . .

Welcome, DIANNA, and thank you for not peeking before submitting your quiz answers. The only one you should review is #10. The redundancy is "during the course of." More simply, just write "during."

I must agree with you on "the stairs rose up." I doubt they rose down!

So glad you are doing better. My advice: Find a strong man like Jake to lift the heavy things!

The Grammar Queen said...

Jake, dearest, I miss you too!!!!!!!!!

(Forgive the redundant exclamation points!)

How sweet to think I have a "gentling effect" on you. Why, I've heard here in Seekerville that you've had the exact same effect on me! Isn't it lovely how we bring out the best in each other?

Missy Tippens said...

I love it!! I'm sure you've all gotten them right, so I'm not going to put mine on here. But I did take your exam, GQ. And I think I got them right.

BUT I'm sure I've used them before. I'm positive I've used "first began" and "major breakthrough."

Thank you, GQ for the help!

The Grammar Queen said...

CHRISTINA, if I can be of any assistance whatsoever with your comma difficulties, you can always find me in Seekerville.

Unless I'm at Green Mountain Dude Ranch.


Missy Tippens said...

Wooo, GQ! Jake's certainly pursuing you, and there's nothing redundant about that!

The Grammar Queen said...

Don't fret, MISSY. I doubt a soul present today has avoided being redundant from time to time.

Some more often than others, I'm sure.

But I am in a forgiving mood, thanks to Jake's appearance. So for the next hour you have my permission to be as redundant as you like.

Myra Johnson said...

Oh, my. Am I going to have to set an extra place at the dinner table tonight? Wish I'd known GQ invited Jake. I'd have fired up the grill way early and thrown a brisket on to slow-cook.

Where's Miss Sally when we need her???

Dianna Shuford said...

GQ- you can include me in your drawing.

I'm glad Jake has put you in a good mood. Everyone deserves to be happy!

Myra Johnson said...

DIANNA, you are a brave, brave soul. If no one else steps forward, you do understand you may win be default?

The Grammar Queen said...

MYRA, MYRA, don't be frightening my loyal fans.

And you made a typo, dearest. It should be "BY default."

Jan Drexler said...

I'm glad I stopped in again, just so I can say howdy to Jake.

I've missed his gravelly voice and the sunrise devotions, but I can see that GQ has been keeping him from getting melancholy :)

And please put my name in for the critique!

Jake MacKillian said...

Miz Jan, it's a pleasure on my side of this here Blogger thing, too.

And Miz Myra, don't be gettin' your knickers in a knot over dinner. I've actually got it ordered from the Texas Barbecue Joint not far from you'ns because I knew you and my little sidesaddle ridin' filly would be neck deep in chit chat.

It's a woman thing, no doubt, 'cause I'm just as good at quiet.

But I can hear the sound of that little sweet-speakin' filly's voice ten ways to Sunday and still not get 'nough.

Jenny Blake said...

on flights cancelled or delayed my only late flight was from Atlanta to Washington DC. We boarded then unboarded then reboarded to collected or overhead luggage then waited for a new plane. Seems you need navigation lights on a plane. Who would have thought that? I originally was on a later flight giving me about 2 hours in Atlanta and they changed it to 40 mins. This flight left over 3 hours late. But it was the only delay. The last flight was fun the turbulence was bad enough that the stewards had to be seated at times and then half my luggage stayed in Sydney but it was all good. Got some new Qantas pjs.

Dianna Shuford said...

Thanks for the warning, Myra. It wouldn't do for GQ's feelings to be hurt so I'm willing to brave the critique.

The Grammar Queen said...

Oh, hurrah, another guinea pi--I mean sweet soul! Thank you, JAN. I'm sure this is a huge relief to DIANNA.

And I will pass along your compliments to Jake. He misses you, too.

Myra Johnson said...

Jake, I hate to tell you this, but the nearest place to get real Texas barbecue around here is about a thousand miles west.

But don't worry, GQ and I will have plenty of time to chat. I wouldn't dream of stealing her precious time with you!

The Grammar Queen said...

Oh, JENNY, turbulent flights are so unnerving! My flight home from Green Mountain Dude Ranch, however, was one of the most pleasant I can recall.

Or perhaps I was too distracted thinking about Jake . . .

Cindy W. said...

1. close proximity
2. foreign imports
3. no advance
4. end result
5. postponed until later
6. first began
7. a.m. in the morning
8. absolutely essential
9. advance planning
10. the course of
11. consensus of opinion
12. major breakthrough
13. closely scrutinizes

That was fun! Thank you for the informative post Grammar Queen.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

The Grammar Queen said...

CINDY, well done!!! A gold star for you!

Chill N said...

Your Highness, an answer, please? Are phrases like 'sat down' and 'stood up' redundancies? This is a significantly important concern that I myself have worried about.

Nancy C

DebH said...

Ooo, I actually got all but one sentence right. The major breakthrough one stumped me. My momma uses that phrase all the time.

Have enjoyed the running commentary as well. Who knew Vince had the power to give royalty headaches? :)

Playground Monitor said...

Grammar Queen, I hope the same exact thing!


Vince said...

Hi Grammar Queen:

I must admit I was worried about the ‘shrugged’ example because I was much inclined to say ‘shrugged off’ myself. I will be sure to use ‘shrugged off’ in the future. I’m a fan and I always enjoy your posts.

BTW I’ll be doing a twin post on July 31st and August 1st on the Pantser/Plotter dichotomy. This might turn out to be a grammatical goldmine. I think your help will be much in need. Please stop by and enjoy the fun.


The Grammar Queen said...

DEB H, apparently there is some controversy as to whether one can have major and minor breakthroughs. GQ is willing to give the benefit of the doubt.

As for Vince, the depth and breadth of his philosophical mind is incredible. .

Vince said...

Hi DebH:

You wrote: “Who knew Vince had the power to give royalty headaches? :)”

Headaches are easy. Did you read yesterday’s post where I may have given an earache?

But there is justice in the world. I smashed my pinky and have spent the last six hours in the emergency room to have a one hour procedure done. Really! Less than one hour of care took five hours of waiting. I think this is the future of medical care. : (

The painkiller is wearing off so I may get the chance to shrug off some pain tonight. I may even post a picture of my hand on Facebook. I think Facebook has a tendency to make a person shameless. : )


P.S. You’ve given me an idea. Perhaps when Helen provides the virtual coffee each night, I could supply virtual aspirins.

The Grammar Queen said...

VINCE, how delightful that you are brave enough to enter the plotter/pantser fray. I know there are strong feelings on both sides of the issue.

I do recommend you be prepared to duck should Myra decide to throw something.

Christina Rich said...

I'd love to be in the drawing for a Grammar Queen look over.

Jenny Blake said...

ouch Vince sounds painful. Im thankful here you can been seen fairly quick for an emergency but then its a small country hospital but great care.

My friends hubby ended there yesterday rang his wife to say he had been feeling unwell with difficulty breathing and tightness in the chest for 3 days and thought he needed to go to the hospital. She took him but almost branded him with a large stick for not saying anything earlier. She had to sit in the corridor to stop from hitting him! Seems the dr was on her side and evidently gave him a rather strong lecture.

Rachel Jones said...

Great "GQ Grammer Review".I'll be sure to look for possible redendancies during my re-writes.

1. close proximity
2. foreign imports
3. advance warning
4. end result
5. postponed until later
6. first began
7. finish reading
8. absolutely essential
9. advance planning
10. course of her book launch
11. consensus of opinion
12. major breakthrough
13. closely scrutinizes

Marianne Barkman said...

Another fun and enlightening morning coffee with my beloved friends from Seekerville. Thanks, GQ.
Jenny I always wondered why you didn't take your trip during your winter?

The Grammar Queen said...

CHRISTINA, dearest, you are entered. Thank you so much for taking this wise step toward saving the English language.

JENNY, what is it with these men? Jake got a splinter while chopping wood at the ranch last week. By the time he said anything to me, his finger had become infected. And, of course, he was SUCH a big baby when I insisted he see his physician.

RACHEL, darling, did you miss that "a.m." and "morning" mean the same thing? Please inform me what is redundant about "finish reading." Unless you are implying that one NEVER finishes reading, which would be quite true. But not a redundancy.

Vince said...

Hello Grammar Queen:

It’s interesting that you mention Myra. She may be our most ardent Pantser and yet she is a star in the upcoming posts. Her insights are very important and convincing. She also uses Scrivener to help give her many of the advantage of being a Plotter while still enjoying the freedom of being a Pantser. I think a legal term for how Myra works might be ‘constructive plotter’.

I’m a plotter but I am going to implement many of the things Myra does when using Scrivener. If I worked the way Myra does I think I could even become a Pantser.

I don’t think Myra is going to throw anything.


Julie Lessman said...

Oh, GQ ... how fun!!! I am SO sorry I am late to the party, but LOVE the subject!! And needed it too ... terribly bad ... ;)


Amber Schamel said...

Nice post Grammar Queen, or is it Mrs Jake yet?? lol

1) Close proximity

2) Foreign imports

3) Advance warning

4) End result

5) Postponed until later

6) first began

7) a.m. in the morning (pshhh, I'd like to see p.m. in the morning. lol)

8) Strong cup of Coffee (is there any other kind?)
lol, just kidding.
Absolutely essential

9) Advance planning

10) Pam and successful are redundant. Also during the course, and book launch are probably redundant.

11)Consensus of opinion

12) Major breakthrough, although for writers, research and novel are also redundant.

13) Closely scrutinizes

Thanks for the post, do you grade our quizzes?