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Clarity in Writing: Avoiding the Department of Redundancy Department

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The last tip on writing grants is to conserve words that are doing double duty. For example:

better improvements” Improvements are by definition “better”, use “improvements”.

Both teachers and students” This is the equivalent to saying, “teachers and students”. Some authors will argue that using “both” is a way of emphasizing “teachers and students,” but this could be done with italics, which is what italics were designed for—emphasis: “teachers and students”.

It is important to edit word-level redundancies like “unique, one-of-a-kind opportunity,” but it is also important to turn attention to longer phrases, such as:

“The entire math department, including the department head and new teachers, will fully participate in the support tutoring sessions” The phrase, “the entire math department” implies the whole department (new teachers and the department head, alike), “support tutoring sessions” is redundant because “tutoring sessions” are “support sessions”. Further reduction might yield the sentence, “All math department teachers will conduct the tutoring sessions.”

Here is another example:

Needs improvement

Every student in all grades will create, organize, and produce an personalized individual portfolio that includes all the writing assignments from the entire academic school year.”


“Each student will make a writing portfolio that includes all their work from the school year.
Additional OWL resources you may find useful:

Some authors have found help with sentence clarity by using the paramedic method and by not over using hedging. Plagiarism is a concern of many authors, and help with quoting, paraphrasing and summarizing is also available on the OWL. Information on how to personalize and getting started with editing and proofreading can be found here.