English Vocabulary: Find the Mistake

http://www.engvid.com/ Is engVid your most favourite? Can you return back from a holiday? Do you meet together with a friend? Learn about English redundancies and why these examples are ALL wrong! This is an important lesson to improve your everyday speech and writing. These common mistakes are essential to avoid on the IELTS, TOEFL, and TOEIC exams. Watch this lesson and then test your understanding by taking the quiz on www.engvid.com/english-vocabulary-redundant-expressions/ !


Hi. This is Rebecca, and I have a question for you. Is there anything wrong with the sentences behind me? Let’s have a look.

“The car was speeding too fast.”

“We will progress forward this year.”

“Do you have any other alternatives?”

And, “When are you returning back?”

Okay. Let’s start with those four. So did you find anything wrong there, or did you think they were perfectly okay? Well, I hope you said that there was something wrong because there is. And what’s wrong is that all of these sentences contain what is called in English “redundant expressions”. “Redundancy” means repetitive and unnecessary. That means there are some extra words here that we don’t need to use. So let’s go back and see what those redundancies are.

The first one, “The car was speeding too fast.” So what’s redundant? These words here, “too fast”. When you say that the car was speeding, that’s enough because “speeding” means that you’re driving too fast. So you don’t need to say that you’re speeding too fast. Just, “The car was speeding.”

Next, “We will progress forward this year.” Where’s the problem? Here. You don’t need to say “progress forward”. It’s enough to say “progress” because “progress” means to go forward. Okay?

Next one, “Do you have any other alternatives?” Where’s the problem? Here. “Alternatives” means other ideas, other options. So you don’t need to say “other alternatives”. Just, “Do you have any alternatives?”

“When are you returning back?” Where’s the problem? Here. You just need to say, “When are you returning?” Because “returning” means “going back”, all right?

Let’s try a few others. “Could you repeat the directions again?” Where’s the problem? Over here. Because “to repeat” means to say something again, so “Could you repeat the directions?” That’s enough.

“Please continue on with your work.” Where’s the problem there? Here. “To continue” means to go on. So you don’t need to say “continue on”, okay?

“They meet together often.” That sounds like it’s okay. A lot of people do use those kinds of expressions. But it’s not technically correct. You should just say, “They meet often” because if they meet, they are together, right? We don’t need to repeat it. That is a redundancy.

Last one here, “We reserved the seats in advance.” Where’s the problem? Over here. If you reserved the seats, it means that you booked them in advance. So you don’t need to repeat the words “in advance”.

Now, this is really important especially if you’re writing an exam like the TOEFL or the IELTS because examiners look out for these types of issues in your English language mastery, okay? Let’s look at a few more examples. There are, actually, hundreds of examples in English of common redundancies. I’ll tell you a little bit more about that in a second. But let’s look at a few examples.

“Still continues” — can you say something “still continues”? Not really. You shouldn’t be saying that. You don’t need the word “still”. “It continues” means it’s still going on. All right?

Next one. You do hear this one quite often, but it’s not really right. “It’s a crisis situation.” We don’t need the word “situation”. “It’s a crisis.” That’s enough.

Next one. Well, these two, let me read them to you first. “Completely destroyed”; “absolutely necessary”. Now, as such, it’s really enough to say, “It was destroyed” or “It’s necessary”. But it often happens that in English and in different languages, words sometimes become weaker over time. So sometimes, we have a tendency to emphasize them. And that’s what’s happening here. So you could leave this, or you could eliminate it. “Completely destroyed” we use when we want to emphasize that it was really gone. But as such, the word “destroyed” means that it’s gone. Same here, “It’s necessary” means that you need it. But sometimes, you will hear people say, “It’s absolutely necessary that you arrive on time for your interview.” So they’re just trying to emphasize it. But technically, it’s not necessary. Okay?

If you’d like a list of about a hundred redundancies like this, I’ve compiled a list for you which you can download for free from our website, www.engvid.com. You can also do a quiz on this subject and watch lots of other videos that will help you improve your English, okay? Thanks for watching. Bye for now.

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