Repetitive Redundancy, Again and Again

WRITTEN October 13, 2011 Author: Rich Atkins

Doing (or saying / writing) the same thing twice is counterproductive. Avoid double work in communication! Pretend that each word you use will cost you .75¢ (look for ways to contain costs). Oftentimes, a “repetitive redundancy” will show up in speech or writing. For each of these examples below, see how words can be deleted, making communication clearer.


RAS Syndrome (Repetitive Acronym Syndrome Syndrome)

  • ATM Machine (Automated Teller Machine Machine)
  • GPS System (Global Positioning System System)
  • PIN Number (Personal Identification Number Number)


Redundancies (see if you can drop one or more words from these terms and expressions)

  • Clear distinction
  • Same exact
  • Basic fundamentals (Are there any other kind?)
  • Preboarding (isn’t it just “boarding”?)
  • Preheating (isn’t it just “heating”?)
  • 6:00 AM in the morning (Is there another 6.00 AM?)
  • Hot water heater (At the price of fuel these days…)
  • Free gift (Is there any other kind?)
  • Past history (Is there any other kind?)
  • Refer back (Where else could one refer?)
  • Future projections (Are there any other kind?)
  • Desirable benefits (Ask HR about the “undesirable benefits”!)
  • “Personally, I think…”
  • “I self-examine myself.” (Who else would you self-examine?)


Contradictory Terms – generally just odd combinations of words.

  • Terribly good
  • A little big
  • Love him / her to death
  • Pretty ugly
  • Plastic glass / Plastic silverware

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