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221 Chapter 22. Conciseness: The Department of Redundancy Department In This Chapter · Understand redundancy · Simplify sentences · Improve your writing style In language, as in plane geometry, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. As Thomas Jefferson once remarked, "The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do." That's what this chapter is all about. All good writing demands a polished style. Especially in business, writers impress their readers not with big words and convoluted prose, but rather with a straightforward, easy-to-read style. Learn how to accomplish this right now. Slash and Burn Redundant writing is cluttered with unnecessary words that fog your meaning. Wordy writing forces your readers to clear away unnecessary words and phrases before they can understand your mes- sage. Redundancies are the junk food of our language, filling us up on empty words. Prove it to yourself. The following table is a series of redundant phrases I've culled from newspapers, magazines, friends, and foes. Rewrite each of the following phrases to eliminate the redundancy. Then give a reason for your revision. The first one is done for you. You Could Look It Up Redundancy is the unnecessary repetition of words and ideas. Redundancy 1. honest truth 2. past experience 3. past history 4. fatally killed Repair truth __________________ __________________ __________________ Reason truth is honest by definition __________________ __________________ __________________