Common Mistakes: Unnecessary words

March 22, 2007: Issue 182

We often insert the word up unnecessarily after verbs.

wordy: They demolished a clunky island to open up the space.
preferred: They demolished a clunky island to open the space.

wordy: She mixed up blue and green fabrics for a watery feel.
preferred: She mixed blue and green fabrics for a watery feel.

Up in these cases functions as an adverb, but prepositions have a similar tendency to creep in where they’re not needed.

wordy: He perused through design magazines for ideas.
preferred: He perused design magazines for ideas.

wordy: Roam around the neighborhood and find landscapes you like.
preferred: Roam the neighborhood and find landscapes you like.

Things get especially awkward when we stack multiple prepositions.

ridiculously wordy: They hung posters up around in the neighborhood.
preferred: They hung posters around the neighborhood.

So watch for those pesky little words, and delete the ones that aren’t pulling their weight.

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