Cut The Fat; Make Your Writing Lean: #Tip 05.


Most writers seem to enjoy sharing ideas to improve our craft. So, let’s chop the fat from our writing. Make it lean and trim. Readers will thank us.

In this series, I’ll look at some common redundancies.

But, reading this post and nodding wisely in agreement won’t work. We need to stay alert to those extraneous words that sneak into text, or they’ll intrude when we’re not looking. Including this as part of our editing process should catch most offenders.

Added bonus:

This is not as definite as it may at first appear. Whilst it’s true that a bonus is something in addition, there are times when more than one bonus may be applied. In that case, ‘added bonus’ would be acceptable. However, if there is just one bonus, ‘added’ becomes redundant. e.g. Winning a prize was wonderful, gaining kudos in the eyes of his peers was an added bonus. Try: Winning a prize felt wonderful; the bonus came from gaining kudos from his peers.

Which is:

This can be a flabby phrase. e.g. Blue, which is my favourite colour, is also the name of my dog. Try: Blue, my favourite colour, is also the name of my dog.

Foreign imports:

Now, where do imports originate? Certainly not in the land to which they are sent. ‘Foreign’ is not required. e.g. Many believe foreign imports hurt the economy of their home country. Try: Many believe imports hurt their home country’s economy.

Please consider these as suggestions, intended to make us think about what we write, to examine the words and help us decide where we can improve the sense of them. Writing rules are useful guides, but, as George Orwell famously said, ‘Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.’