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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Criminal Sentence 536: Repeating Your Repetition

From something I'm editing:

" icy cold body of water"

As opposed to "an icy warm body of water"?

Let's just pick one and avoid and avoid repetition:

" icy body of water"


"...a cold body of water"


Warsaw Will said...

For me, I'm afraid, this concern with avoiding redundancy simply takes the drama out of the writing. Cold is a gradable adjective so it often takes an intensifier. And icy as an intensifier is so much more expressive than very or extremely. In fact I would say that it is a standard collocation. A cold body of water gives me no idea of how cold, and an icy body of water; well, that could simply mean it was full of ice. With the original I really experience it, with the 'cleaned up' version I feel nothing. Sorry.

Val Span said...

I'm with Will on this one. Keep the drama, unless it's technical writing.

The Sentence Sleuth said...

Point taken, but in the context (which I failed to mention), it was discussing what might happen if a plane landed in the ocean. It seemed obvious that the water would be freezing, but I suppose it's not the worst error in the world.
Thanks for your input!