Cut the clutter...
Thread poster: patyjs

patyjs  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 02:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
Oct 7, 2008

I came across this by accident...as is often the case with good stuff... and wanted to share it.

I was surprised to realize how many of these I use quite regularly. Oh, horror!

http://grammar.about.com/od/words/a/redundancies.htm

It's enlightening to say the least!



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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:05
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Excellent Oct 7, 2008

What an excellent reminder - thank you! I have bookmarked the page, so I can 'declutter' regularly.

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Krzysztof Łesyk  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 16:05
Japanese to English
+ ...
Nice, but... Oct 8, 2008

I agree - it is a good resource, but I have doubts about some of the entries:

brief summary - "War and Peace" can be summarized in three pages or three sentences - wouldn't that make the latter a brief(er?;)) summary?

burn down - I don't understand this one. To me, "My house burned down" is not equal to "My house burned" - the latter one sounds unnatural and besides, suggests that the house once burned, but isn't now. To me "burned down" has a different meaning.

cease and desist - it's an established legal term, is it really unnecessary repetition?

close down - again, "close the shop" and "close down the shop" have a different meaning to me - am I wrong?

current trend - while the XVI century fashion trend in male clothing were close fitting pantyhose and wigs, the current trend is rather different. Sometimes it's necessary to differentiate between trends.

...and so on, and so forth. Still, most of the provided examples are indeed redundant (some of them to the point of being comical - do people really speak/write like that?) - it's worth to go through the list even if nitpicking along the way like yours truly - I admit I am using a couple (okay, a lot) of those when translating corporate gibberish and it makes me want to look for some less jarring alternatives.


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
Cutting redundancies is a good idea Oct 8, 2008

Many of the examples are not, however, redundant.

Burning a house is not the same as burning down a house. The former is vague, and could be mean as little as a single singed wall; the latter means the house was destroyed by fire.

Partners are not inherently coequal (as anyone who has translated partnership agreements knows).

"Added bonus" means that at least one bonus is already in place. "Bonus" by itself does not mean this.

"Best ever" emphatically does not mean the same as "best" (which may be restricted in scope, as in "best in show").

"Curative process" is not redundant at all, as neither word implies the other. "Curative" can be used before any number of terms ("curative plant," "curative hot springs") which do not refer to processes. "Process" can be used in countless contexts that have nothing to do with cures.

Trends can be current trends, past trends or expected future trends, and therefore "current trend" is not redundant.

A process of many steps will yield provisional results and, ultimately, a final or "end result."

Hazards may be extreme or mild, so "extreme hazard" is not redundant. The hazard of losing a finger is different from the hazard of being killed.

Indeed, many of the phrases on the list emphasize degree, or focus on a specific aspect of meaning. The double layer of doubt conveyed by "could possibly" has a different shade of meaning than "could" or "possibly" alone. It conveys a reluctance to address the matter.

Similarly, one can argue that there are degrees of necessity, and so "absolutely necessary" does have meaning (though "essential" is more concise). In theory, one needs several meals a day to be healthy. But in times of disaster, one focuses on the absolute necessities for survival.

There are numerous other problematic items, but most of the entries on the list are worth keeping in mind.

[Edited at 2008-10-08 04:35]


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:05
Italian to English
+ ...
Haven't time to go through the whole lot, but... Oct 8, 2008

"things just don't add". Hmm, think that "up" might not be redundant.

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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:05
French to English
I hate to be critical... Oct 8, 2008

... but I'm afraid that I too found much on that list that I would take issue with, in terms of applying as a definite rule. There are many that can be useful for contrast - friend of mine versus one of yours, a proposed plan (you can still change it) versus a final, approved plan (you can't), etc. I could go on half the morning. Useful, perhaps, but not essential

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