Do you make these mistakes in business communication?

  • Posted on: 15 April 2016
  • By: The BizWrite Team

Watch your words to communicate effectively 

 

Verbosity is the tendency to use more words or grander words than necessary to convey an idea. This can be a demon for some writers because your writing voice is often an extension of the way you speak.

If you use a lot of unnecessary words when you talk, are not confident in your writing or fear that readers won't understand your message, you may develop a tendency to include extra, empty, or redundant words.

The four most common types of verbosity are wordiness, tautology, pleonasms, and the use of empty words or phrases. Of the four, wordiness is often the hardest to spot.

Whereas verbosity in its purest form may involve the overuse of adjectives or the inclusion of grandiose words to pad out a piece or make it sound more erudite or important than it really is, wordiness is simply using more words than needed to express an idea, image, or action.

Here is an exaggerated example of verbosity:

She reached the fingers of her hand that was on her left side out to stroke the fur of the cat, which opened its mouth to say, "Meow," and it stretched out the claws on its paws and kneaded the cushions made of velvet that covered the sofa that sat in the living room.

Repeating it over again

Another form of verbosity or tautology occurs when the same idea is repeated in different ways in one sentence. For instance, if you say "2am in the morning," you have created a tautology because "am" and "in the morning" mean the same thing.

Here’s another example:

"The citizens paid an annual tax every year."

Since both "annual" and "every year" mean the same thing, they are redundant. To correct this redundancy, you need to choose either "annual" or "every year," and delete the phrase you did not select.

Pleonasms – Reversing your proposal backwards

Pleonasms occur when a writer expands on a clear idea by adding already understood details or presents a long, involved phrase to impart something that can be said in one or two words. Pleonasms usually result because a writer lacks confidence and tries to make a clear meaning even clearer by a redundant explanation.

Example:

"The ball was red in colour and round in shape,"

This sentence contains two pleonasms. "red in color" and "round in shape." Readers beyond the kindergarten level know that red is a color and round is a shape, so you don't need to include such clarifications in your sentences.

"The ball was red and round” or “The round ball was red."

Another form of pleonasm is the use of a phrase when a single word or two will do.

Phrases like "due to the fact that" and "at the present time" are pleonasms. "Due to the fact that" can simply be expressed as "because" and instead of "at the present time," you can just say "now."

Many times, writers use pleonasms because they use them when they speak. Learn to recognise pleonasms in your speech and you will find it easier to eliminate them in your writing.

Another type of verbosity that many writers overlook is the tendency to use empty words or phrases, especially at the beginnings of their sentences. Empty words and phrases include passages like "well," "okay," "let's say," "nonetheless," "as I said earlier," "needless to say," or "in conclusion."

If you or you employees make these mistaks in your business communications, then you need the BizWrite professional business writing course... For more information on this course, simply email us at info@bizwrite.co.za.



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