Dip in to this list anywhere, and give your inner editor’s funny bone a tickle. Take “hurriedly scurried.” Or “moral high horse.” Or “live studio audience.” “Old codgers.” “Old coots.” “Old fossils.” “Old ruins.” “Commonly available general knowledge that anyone would know.” Come on. I’m dying here. I don’t make this stuff up. Bonus: Smiling at redundant phrases sharpens your writing. Warning: These things are addictive.
A car pulled up next to my Prius at a stoplight in downtown Portland. The driver opened her window and asked, “What does your bumper sticker mean?” Through my passenger window, I told her that it means to look for verbs like “is” and “were” and “are,” and then consider how you might reword to make the writing tighter and more impactful. “You made my day," she said.
My commitment to writing traces back to the moment I discovered "The Hemingway Reader." It’s one of the books I’d grab if our house were on fire. The observations and excerpts in Charles Poore’s foreword have shaped my writing efforts in journalism, playwriting, fiction, poetry, technical writing, marketing writing—every kind of writing I’ve ever done.
The trouble with companies is that they’re full of people, and people insist on having unique personalities and distinct voices. It’s no wonder that, when we take an honest look at our content, issues of consistency and tone of voice invariably creep into our conversations.