I am happy to hear that Independent Living Resources of Greater Birmingham is getting a new 8,000 square foot facility next spring. Since 1980, this agency has offered a wide variety of vital services to disabled people in our community, and their new building on Sixth Avenue North is well deserved.
When Birmingham News reporter Roy L. Williams wrote about this, he created a redundancy in the following sentence:
The $2 million, 8,000 square foot facility should open in the 1500 block of Sixth Ave. North by April or May 2012, said Dan Kessler, executive director of the agency that assists 2,000 individuals annually a year.
I am certain this reporter knows that ANNUALLY and A YEAR mean the same thing, and I am certain he did not intentionally bop this point twice (as I refer to this crime in my business writing workshops). He probably tried one version (ANNUALLY), then considered the second version (A YEAR) and then forgot to delete one or the other.
If he had proofread his copy, he would have spotted this redundancy error. Apparently, the copy editor missed it, too. That is my point. All of us create redundancies (bopping something twice when once will do), but the good writing trick is to proofread carefully and weed out the extras before going to print. I would have worded the sentence this way:
The $2 million, 8,000 square foot facility should open in the 1500 block of Sixth Ave. North by April or May 2012, said Dan Kessler, executive director of the agency that assists 2,000 individuals a year.
Are you wondering why I chose A YEAR and got rid of ANNUALLY? Two reasons: First, if two words or phrases mean exactly the same thing (no difference in shade of meaning), I always choose the simpler one, which is A YEAR. Second, I try to avoid placing multi-syllable words next to each other. INDIVIDUALS has five syllables, and ANNUALLY has four.
COOK'S RULE: Avoid redundancies. Do not bop things twice when once will do.
FUNNY FOOTNOTE: In the headline of a recent post, I referred to an ambiguous "it," meaning a pronoun that did not have a clear antecedent. As I often do in the body of a post, I used capital letters for the word I was referring to. The headline read this way:
Benefits only available on Monday? Plus an ambiguous “IT.”
My new webmaster, who is an expert in IT (Information Technology), saw that headline and wondered who the ambiguous Information Technologist was! Perhaps others did, too, so I have changed the headline to make it clearer that I am referring to the pronoun "it." It now reads this way:
Benefits only available on Monday? Plus an ambiguous “it.”
Wel MMymy M