Forum
Community Forum
Today's Posts
FAQ & Rules
Members List

Writing
Writing Forum
Recent Posts
Critique Guidelines

Groups
YWO Social Groups
Facebook
Myspace

Chat
 
YWA

Register

Store
Support YWO
YWO Merchandise
The Book Despository
Amazon.com (US)
Amazon.co.uk (UK)
Amazon.ca (Canada)

SBS Mag


Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 02-24-2013, 09:07 PM View Post #1 (Link) Repititious Words
addictedtoreading (Offline)
Scholarly Apprentice
 
addictedtoreading's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 216
Points: 20
Times Thanked: 45
This is the first section in Fictitious Writing Guide. About repeating words, and how to edit them out. Let me know if this was helpful

Now i agree the error of repeating words is a grammatical problem, but in some writing forms, such as poetry it is not. Therefore i decided to include it in this guide, as it can be a large annoyance in fictional writing.

Nothing destroys good writing, like repetitious words. So why do they still happen?
Writing is simply a way of speaking, a way of communicating. It is more complicated than speaking though, because over time the spoken word has become sloppy, or incomplete.

We speak repetitively every day. We don’t notice because our minds are busy concentrating on what the other person is saying, and what is happening around us. Because of this habit, repetitive words come through in our writing very often and sometimes even after the first draft, goes unchecked.

This is something that we need to watch for, because it degrades your writing greatly and is a true sign of rushed work.

And.

And is the most common, repeated word there is. My rule is, don’t use and more than once in a sentence. In a list, you only have you to use and once.

Incorrect list;

“I like potatoes and buckets and crumbs and oranges.”

Not only is this sentence lacking punctuation, but the word and destroys it. Now this is an obvious mistake and usually is corrected immediately by the author or editor. So let’s go onto a different sentence where it might be harder to find the overuse of and and other words.

“The movie was longer than everyone thought so Tess and her B.F.F.s didn’t have talent show practice, and most of the groups already did really good so they didn’t need practice.”
This sentence has punctuation, it also is an important sentence. So the writer may overlook the repetition of and, but if you read this out loud you will see that overuse of the word makes the sentence too long.
Also you may notice the overuse of the word practice. This is a very common mistake as well, but surprisingly is more evident than the overuse of and. How could you fix this sentence?

“The movie was longer than everyone thought, so Tess, and her B.F.F.s didn’t have talent show practice. Most of the groups already did really good, so they didn’t need any extra practice either.”
I fixed this sentence by adding a period, and starting a new sentence. I also fixed practice by adding either, this makes the sentence sound better, and allows us to ignore the reused word.
Another option, is i could have found a synonym for practice, such as rehearsal, or run through.

Then and other list words.

“Then, the judges turned the paper and shouted "We've made a mistake, the real winner is Best Friends Forever!" Tess was thrilled. Then it was time to go back to school.”

Then is a word meant to be used in a sequence of action, or telling of events. Which makes it tricky to replace or de-use with synonyms. In this example, the author was hard pressed into using it again, because how else would she tell what the judge said, and then send them back to school?

Other problems are also evident in this sentence, such as lack of showing vs. telling (section 6) but we’ll ignore that for now.

First you have to look and see if we could delete any words... the first then is needed, but is the second one?

“Then, the judges turned the paper and shouted " We've made a mistake, the real winner is Best Friends Forever!" Tess was thrilled. It was time to go back to school.”
No it doesn’t work, because now it seems like Tess wasn’t thrilled about winning, but rather she was thrilled because it was time to go back to school.

“Then, the judges turned the paper and shouted " We've made a mistake, the real winner is Best Friends Forever! " Tess was thrilled, and after many congratulatory cheers it was time to go back to school.”
This edited sentence is a very good example of how i fixed the repetition problem of then, and used and correctly! Not to mention, i also added valuable details that could help the reader visualized what is happening.

Overall, you can fix repetition in your sentences by following these steps...

Rereading your work out loud, sometimes things read alright on paper, but don’t sound right when you speak them.
Don’t use a word more than once or twice every three sentences. (Meaning nouns, and adjectives. Obviously you’ll have to use some (I, and, they, you, ect.)
Use synonyms. Synonyms are one of the most effective cures for repetition. Keep a thesaurus handy, and find interesting substitutes that work.
Re-word your sentences. Don’t be afraid to mess with your words a bit, and try out different way to say things.
__________________
Abby

Please don't hesitate to message me if you have any comments or questions, I'm always happy to talk about anything reading or writing related. If you want me to look at your writing just ask!
It is not hard to write what one feels as truth. It is damned hard to live by it.
-Eugene O'Neil to Alexander Berkman
I am also a major Tumblr addict and have a collection of quotes (reblogged and stockpiled over the course of five years) that you are welcome to peruse
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2013, 09:32 PM View Post #2 (Link)
Infinity_Man (Offline)
Freelance Writer
 
Infinity_Man's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 1,407
Points: 30
Times Thanked: 240
I'm going to just look at the following example, since the other ones had many other issues with them (as you pointed out and, rightly, saved for address later on):

“The movie was longer than everyone thought so Tess and her B.F.F.s didn’t have talent show practice, and most of the groups already did really good so they didn’t need practice.”
I don't actually think there's an issue there. Repetition of "and" can be a sign of poor sentence structure, bad listing, or run-on-sentences, and I think the reader will find more cause for concern there, rather than repetition of and. "And" is somewhat of an invisible word. I actually had to reread your example to see where you had said "and" more than once. I believe that's because one "and" is being used to combine her and her BFFs, and the other is used as a flat out conjunction. Since they play slightly different roles, I don't think they come across as repetitive.

I also fixed practice by adding either, this makes the sentence sound better, and allows us to ignore the reused word.
Another option, is i could have found a synonym for practice, such as rehearsal, or run through.
Except that adding extra words doesn't take away from the fact you've still reused the word. If you're really bothered by the repetition the answer isn't to add pleonasms like "extra" and "either". I don't understand the logic behind cutting "and" because it makes the sentence too long, but adding more words to the same sentence to try and smother "practice"

To be honest with you, I think you've falsely identified what the problem with these examples is. It's not that "and" and "then" get used, it's that the functions which those words allow get overused--again, run-on-sentences and poor sentence/paragraph structure. Basically, it's like I had a virus that made me break out in hives, and you're trying to treat the hives to cure the virus rather than the other way around.
__________________
Infinity_Man's Mega Guide

Pro-tip: because my first instinct is to procrastinate anything I see as an obligation or responsibility, asking me for a critique is a good way to make sure I never give you a critique.
  
						Last edited by Infinity_Man; 02-25-2013 at 09:38 PM.
					
					Reply With Quote
Reply
Thread Tools

 


All times are GMT. The time now is 10:27 AM.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7 - Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
All writing Copyright © its author(s). All other material Copyright © 2007-2012 Young Writers Online unless otherwise specified.
Managed by Andrew Kukwa (Andy) and Shaun Duke (Shaun) from The World in the Satin Bag. Design by HTWoRKS.