This exercise is about eliminating double nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Let’s start with verbs. Often, when an author uses two verbs, the first one is unnecessary. Usually, the second verb infers the first, so it adds a bit of redundancy. This includes verb phrases. For instance: he turned and looked back becomes he looked back; I sat and watched the news becomes I watched the news; she picked up the phone and answered it becomes she answered the phone; please open the door and leave becomes please leave. It does not change the meaning when you leave out the first verb and doing so makes your writing stronger.
Now look at your double nouns, adjectives, and adverbs. Sometimes the double words we use mean the same thing, so only one is actually needed. Look at these examples.
- scream and yell
- null and void
- new and innovative
- rules and regulations
- pick and choose
- honestly and truthfully
Don’t misunderstand. I am not saying you should not use two verbs, adverbs, nouns, or adjectives, but when they mean the same thing, get rid of one. You may find you can get rid of both words. Take a look at the following.
The student finished the test fully and completely.
Do I lose any meaning by only using the student finished the test? Doesn’t the word finished imply fully and completely? The same rule holds true if you write he completely finished. You don’t need the word completely because finished implies everything was done.
Although we may speak this way, when it comes to writing, we want to be concise. This also gives another added benefit. The author gets out of the reader’s way and allows the reader to use his imagination.