The first rule drilled into our heads when learning proper writing etiquette is avoiding redundant words. However, in the field of copywriting, redundancy can make your copy more powerful.
Intelligent Repetition and Redundancy
Repetition and redundancy both involve repeating words, but do so in different ways and to different effects.
Repetition restates a word or phrase that has already been written. Redundancy is when the meaning of a word is repeated by another, usually unnecessarily.
We’re here to learn about the times when redundancy can be helpful.
Why Do They Work?
Brevity in writing keeps your sentences effective and efficient. Redundant phrases sacrifice some efficiency, but people respond well to familiar wordings. The phrase “receive a bonus” works well, but “receive an added bonus” reinforces the feeling of additional benefit.
Repetition works the same way. Repeating the word “bonus” multiple times will leave a stronger impression on the reader.
Here are some common examples of redundant phrasings:
- free gift
- actual fact
- terms and conditions
- original free-thinker
- future plans
- general public
- added bonus
- brief summary
- additional gains
- type of individual
- introducing the new
- major breakthrough
- safe haven
- false pretense
- unfounded myth
- end result
- for the first time ever
- even bigger
- temporary hiatus
- down south
- raised up
- daily basis
- simple and easy
- 100% guarantee
- real person
- free of charge
- all except for
- physical body
- frozen stiff
Harmful Repetition and How to Avoid It
While intelligent use of repetition and redundancy can make your copy more powerful, you should still watch for harmful cases. How do you fix these instances when you find them?
LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords are related terms search engines use to better understand the content on a webpage. They allow search engines to find relevant content based not just on the specific search term, but on any terms related to the search term.
However, LSI keywords aren’t synonyms. They work around keyword phrases. You can look up related keywords at LSI Graph to avoid repeating phrases while keeping your copy search-engine optimized.
Synonyms can help with your SEO as well but change individual words. They not only keep your writing fresh and engaging but link your content to more search terms.
If you were writing about “gardening tools” you could look up synonyms for “gardening” and “tools” in the thesaurus. It’s important not to overuse synonyms, but a carefully placed “landscaping appliance” can strengthen your copy.
Intelligent redundancy and repetition can benefit your writing. Noticing where you should and shouldn’t use redundancy or repetition may take practice, but will become one of the best tools in your copywriting arsenal.
What is Pleonasm?
Pleonasm is when more words or parts of words are used than are necessary for clear expression. It can be used for emphasis or because the phrase has been established in a language.
What is Tautology?
Tautology is when a statement says the same thing twice using nearly identical words or phrases. Unintentional tautology, like unintentional pleonasm, can be considered a fault of style.