Have you ever caught yourself saying or writing something like this?
Celandine crouched in close proximity to the dragon’s lair.
Or how about this one:
Celandine considered herself a very unique outlaw, because she robbed from the poor and gave to the criminally insane.
What’s wrong with those two sentences? Well, they contain redundancies: “close proximity” and “very unique.”
We use these redundancies every day when speaking, and even though we know better, they often creep into our writing. Redundancies happen when you have a word that is absolute, yet you attempt to establish just how much Prince Waldemar’s ball was perfect (“absolutely perfect”) or that every single one of the robber barons had cheated the farmers (“each and every”).
We use redundancies so much that we probably don’t even know when we’re guilty of them, such as when we say “bald-headed,” “first of all,” or “native habitat.” I know I’m certainly guilty of dozens of them.
Redundancies add nothing to your writing and only clutter up the text. Not only that, they dilute the English language. We’ve all heard that something can’t be “the most unique,” and neither can ice be anything but frozen (“frozen ice”). Nor is telepathy anything but mental (“mental telepathy”). Why use two or three words when one is satisfactory? Let the words do the job they were invented for.