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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Criminal Sentence 536: Repeating Your Repetition

From something I'm editing:

"...an icy cold body of water"

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

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

"...an icy body of water"

or

"...a cold body of water"

3 comments:

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!