Word Repetition


What is Wrong about Repetition?

“Word rep.” is supposedly one of the most frequent comments left by teachers on papers submitted by their students. Though word repetition is not as bad as grammatical mistakes, for example, it is still recommended to avoid this stylistic flaw. The main reason for doing so is that word repetitions show a student’s poor vocabulary and incompetency in using the English language. In addition, word repetitions make a text less smooth and easy-to-read, as one’s eye keeps “stumbling” upon regularly repeated words.

The repetition of ideas is even worse, since it displays one’s inability to comprehend, organize, and/or express material—though inattentiveness is also among the key factors leading to idea repetition.

How to Avoid Word Repetitions?

1. Reread your writing, paying attention to words that are repeated too often. Look up their synonyms in a thesaurus, and insert them instead of the repeated terms.
2. Restate a sentence that contains repeating words in order to see whether you can express an idea without using them.
3. In case you notice a repetition of verbs, check if you can substitute a verb’s negative form to a verb opposite in meaning.
4. If you have a lot of names in the text, consider using pronouns. He, she, it, they, we, us, and so on will make it unnecessary for you to constantly repeat all the names of people you are writing about.

How to Avoid Idea Repetitions?

– Create an outline for your future paper. Structuring your thoughts out before writing them down will decrease the chance of repetition.

– Make a draft copy of your writing. Reread it several times before writing your final copy; this way you will notice all the repetitions in advance.

– Figure out for yourself what points you are going to cover in your writing. List them, mark them with numbers, and stick to the list while writing.

Main Factors Leading to Repetition

– Inattentiveness
– Forgetting what you have written so far
– Unorganized process of writing
– No clear vision of what to write about
– Poor language skills


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