Professional Style

Redundancy and Initials

April 2011
Spot the Error

Before leaving town for the weekend, Aaron withdrew one hundred dollars from the ATM machine.

It’s not uncommon to hear phrases like ATM machine, PIN number, and HIV virus. People have become so accustomed to the initials that they’ve forgotten what the letters represent; people don’t even know that they’re being redundant.

  • Automated Teller Machine machine
  • Personal Identification Number number
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus virus

Granted, these redundant phrases frequently slip out in casual conversation when our mouths are working twice as fast as our brains. However, in written communications, when we have the opportunity to edit, we need to be sure to eliminate those instances of repetition, redundancy, and tautology.

Check out more writing tips below…


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