Writers enjoy sharing ideas to improve their craft. Here are some tricks to trim your writing. Readers will appreciate the absence of these common redundancies and flabby expressions.
To eliminate something is to eradicate it, therefore ‘entirely’ or ‘completely’ or any other tautological qualifier is just that; tautology. e.g. The leader said, ‘If we could only get rid of the vote, we could eliminate entirely all opposition.’ Try: The leader said, ‘If we could only get rid of the vote, we could eliminate opposition.’ The dream of all leaders?
In my opinion:
If the statement is patently from you, then it is equally patently your opinion, isn’t it? e.g. In my opinion, all leaders are, by definition, sociopaths intent on having their own way. Try: All leaders are, by definition, sociopaths intent on having their own way
If it’s the present, it must be the current time, so let’s leave out the reference to time, shall we? e.g. He said he’s not willing to negotiate at the present time. Try: He said he’s not willing to negotiate at present.
If you only read these posts and nod sagely, you won’t improve your writing. You’ll need to stay alert to extraneous words that sneak into text, or they’ll slide in unnoticed. Include this check as part of your editing process, and you’ll catch most offenders. Fiction writers know real people use redundancy and meaningless expressions when talking, so dialogue can read more naturally by occasionally including these.
These suggestions should make us think about what we write and examine our words to help us improve our writing. Rules about writing do form useful guides but they aren’t set in stone. Always bear in mind George Orwell’s wise words; ‘Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.’