Posted by: episystechpubs | November 12, 2014

Editor’s Corner: Pleonasm Lesson & Quiz

Today Im going to bring back an old tradition of Editors Corner: the quiz. For this to work, you have to follow the directions carefully.

1. Today I will provide you with a brief lesson and an exercise.

2. Complete the exercise on your own. Please, do not send me your answers.

3. On Thursday (tomorrow), I will send you the answers and a brief explanation behind them.

This is not intended to freak you out or cause anxiety, nor is it graded or mandatory.

Todays topic is the literary device called the pleonasm (not neoplasm). According to Merriam-Webster, a pleonasm is defined as:

1a: iteration or repetition in speaking or in writing: the use of more words than those necessary to denote mere sense (as the man he said, saw with his own eyes, true fact); especially: the coincident use of a word and its substitute for the same grammatical function: redundancy, tautology

Origin of PLEONASM

Late Latin pleonasmus, from Greek pleonasmas, from pleonazein to be more, to be in excess, to be redundant, from pleon, neuter of plein, plen more

Some additional examples of pleonasms are:

army soldier

return back

burning fire

black darkness

Since our goal in technical documentation is to be thorough but concise, we do our best to avoid pleonasms (and neoplasms). Your exercise, should you choose to accept it, is to edit these sentences and remove the unnecessary words.

Note: The key is to remove the redundancies, not rewrite the sentences for the great American novel.

1. Usually it was her custom to eat a chocolate cake on her birthday.

2. This beautiful waterfront park is the result of the joint collaboration of the Balboa Park Rose Garden and the Waterfront Association.

3. Her wedding dress was marred by a tiny speck of black ink on the bodice.

4. Johnny Little Fingers La Motta was sent to prison for life: the verdict was totally and completely unanimous.

5. Im sorry, but the color intensity of this painting is not sufficient enough to qualify for the auction.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

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