Style - avoid repeating words

Malc Prentice

A common style problem is using the same word too much.

Example

There are many children who have to work at cotton fields because their household does not make much money. For example, in India, about 88% of the people working at cotton fields are children, from 6-14 years old. About 60% of the children are able to go to school at first, but they are forced to quit and have to work at the cotton fields ("Cotton industry and Child labor," n.d.). In addition, 78% of these children are...

Solutions

Option 1: Use a pronoun

Option 2: Join sentences and delete the subject

This also helps improve short sentences.

Option 3: Use other words that mean the same

e.g. Tokyo = "here", or "the city"

e.g. think = "consider" or "ponder"

Option 4: Use "these", "those"

Option 5: "of which", "of whom"

Example, fixed

There are many children who have to work at cotton fields because their household does not make much money. For example, in India, about 88% of the people working at cotton fields are minors, from 6-14 years old. About 60% of those are able to go to school at first, but they are forced to quit and have to work at the cotton fields ("Cotton industry and Child labor," n.d.). In addition, 78% of them are...

Exceptions

1) Repetition is OK when it is a keyword.

2) Repetition is OK when it is used as "anaphora" - repetition for style

3) Repetition is OK in a definition sentence.

4) Repetition is

Try it yourself: The phrase "cotton fields" is also used too much in the text above - can you fix it?

Quiz Instructions

Choose the right option to fix these repetitions.

Quiz


Around 20% of penguins can speak English, and penguins who do have an Australian accent.




Around 20% of penguins can speak English, and penguins never forget their homework.




Around 20% of penguins can speak English, which makes penguins very intelligent.