Stating The Obvious

Most people have heard this term before. It is usually said with a slight sneer as people try to make valid points, but use too many words.

Writers have a tendency to do it without thinking, mostly because many write the way they talk. Because expressions and tone of voice accompany it, stating the obvious as we talk isn’t as…obvious.

In writing, those expressions and that voice aren’t there to add movement and inflection to the words.

Instead, when writers use the device, it comes across as too wordy, rather than emphasizing a point. Some examples:

George slammed the car door shut.

Everyone knows if you slam a car door…it’s probably shut. So the sentence reads much better as:

George slammed the car door.


John washed his car, squirting the water on the sides and front, removing the grime that had accumulated.

The first four words will suffice. Again, one knows that to wash a car means to remove grime, by squirting water all over it.

John washed his car.

Basically, the writer is repeating what was already said, simply using different words. In other words, REDUNDANCY. Don’t beat the reader over the head, simply make the point and move on.

Prose will read much clearer and the reader will appreciate being able to get to the meat of the novel much sooner.


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