I thought that this week’s Grammar Girl podcast on literary redundancies was well worth a listen. You can also read the text of the podcast on the site as well.
A couple of my favorite points that she makes:
WHETHER OR NOT
Another quick way to trim a couple of words at a time from your writing (and your speech) is to keep an eye on the “whether” – the “whether or not,” that is.
I can’t decide whether or not to bring my umbrella. Lose the “or not” in that instance, and you’re fine.
A quick search of the working manuscript of UNEXPECTEDLY, MILO found four instances in which I could drop the words or not for the sake of brevity.
Isn’t Microsoft Word’s Find feature the best?
Also from Grammar Girl:
…watch out for “please R.S.V.P.” R.S.V.P. stands, of course, for répondez s'il vous plaît and that means “respond, please.” So, “please R.S.V.P.” would mean “please respond, please.” If you're begging, that's fine; but really, it's better to preserve your dignity.
Anytime I can avoid using the word please is good. As Nicholson Baker so eloquently stated:
There is a feeble urgency behind all forced mannerisms of finery- haste and pomp cannot coincide.