Tag Archives: PenUltimate Editorial Services

Redundancies and Pleonasms

Today’s blog post is by freelance editor Arlene Prunkl of PenUltimate Editorial Services. Until I read Arlene’s post, I’d never heard of the word pleonasm before, which sounds like some sort of substance you’d look at under a microscope. And who knew that there was even a word for all those little redundancies I’ve always gotten such a kick out of? I hope you enjoy Arlene’s wonderfully succinct and informative post.

Redundancy is just one of the many problems that fall under the general category of wordiness. A redundant phrase or expression is called a pleonasm. You may think you know when a redundancy occurs, but some of them can be subtle.

How often have you heard a friend say something like this: “An unexpected surprise came when a pair of baby twins was born at 12 midnight”? What is a surprise if not unexpected? What are twins if not a pair? Who can be born but a baby? When is midnight if not at 12? Your friend could just as well have said, “A surprise came when twins were born at midnight” with far less repetition.

Or what if you heard someone say, “The armed gunman gave an advance warning that he would make death threats on their lives”? Can you find the pleonasms in that sentence? The expressions we use are full of unwitting redundancy.

I’ve prepared a good long list of pleonasms; some of them are rather funny. Can you see what’s wrong with these? Can you think of any others? Once you start paying attention to each of your words, I’m sure you’ll begin to detect occasional redundancies. In fact, email me with your pet peeve redundancies and pleonasms, and I’ll add them to this list!

– Dry desert
– Free gift
– End result
– Over and over again
– Whether or not
– Former business failed/former ex-husband
– Personal friends/personal opinion/my personal anything
– Standard orthodoxy
– Genuine original
– Ancient fossil
– Basic necessities/basic fundamentals
– Major milestone
– Linger behind
– Rugged mountain range
– Quickly mushroomed
– Interconnect/intermix/interlink
– Future ahead looks bright
– Main thrust
– Small cubbyhole
– Familiar fixture
– Single most/single biggest
– Point in time/period of time
– Death threats on his life
– Close proximity
– Actual experience/past experience
– Advance planning/advance warning/advance reservations
– All meet together/join together
– Armed gunman
– 12 midnight/12 noon
– Autobiography of one’s life
– Awkward predicament
– Cease and desist
– Each and every
– First and foremost
– Cheap price/expensive price
– Commute back and forth
– Consensus of opinion
– Difficult dilemma
– Estimated roughly/guesstimated
– Filled to capacity
– Frozen ice
– General public
– Green in color
– Natural instinct
– Null and void
– Pre-recorded
– The reason is because
– Regular routine
– Suddenly exploded
– Surrounded on all sides
– Broke both his legs
– The winter months
– Postponed until later
– Mutual cooperation
– In order to…

Updated Guide to Using Track Changes

When I first started working with self-publishing authors, I discovered that many of them weren’t all that familiar with how to use Track Changes in Word 2007 and 2010. They didn’t always know what to do when they received their edited copy, all marked up with an array of additions, deletions, and comment balloons. A few seemed too timid to ask me what to do, so I thought it would be best to create an easy-to-follow guide to initiate them into the process. My guide has undergone a few tweaks over the past few months, but I’m proud to say that today I’m finally rolling out what I think is the ultimate guide. Please take a moment to check out Learning Track Changes in MS Word 2007 and 2010: A Quick Guide for Authors.

This ultimate guide to Track Changes has received editorial input from none other than Arlene Prunkl of PenUltimate Editorial Services in Kelowna, B.C. Arlene is both a dear friend and an esteemed colleague who is now celebrating her tenth year as a professional editor. In 2011, Arlene was a finalist for the Tom Fairley Award for Editorial Excellence, which is the top editorial award in Canada. In reviewing my article, she made editorial suggestions that never would have occurred to me–proving that even editors need to be edited. I am truly grateful for Arlene’s contributions to this new version of my Track Changes guide, which she also features on her own website.