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Grammar 41 - Avoiding Repetition
"I love to play the drums."
"I love to play the drums too." - How could this have been said without repetition?

Grammar 41 - Avoiding Repetition

When we speak or write we often feel like kicking ourselves for repeating some words or sentences unnecessarily. Sometimes, we want to stress something and we repeat so as to drive home the point. At other times the repetition may be superfluous. There are many methods we can use when avoiding repetition and this is the first of three High English grammar quizzes which will show you some of them.

Generally, there are instances where repetition is acceptable in sentences and there are other instances where it is not acceptable. The sentence:

‘I am very, very happy,’ can easily be changed to:
‘I am very happy.’

However, in this instance the repetition is desirable or acceptable as the sentence is trying to enhance the effect that a person is happy. Now look at this sentence:

‘I see that the second one-day international between India and Bangladesh is being played in Dacca and I plan to see the second one-day international between India and Bangladesh being played in Dacca.’

Here the repetitions are jarring, so how could we go about avoiding the repetition? The same sentence could be written as:

‘I see that the second one-day international between India and Bangladesh is being played in Dacca and I plan to see the MATCH THERE.’

Notice that we have replaced the first part, ‘the second one-day international between India and Bangladesh’ by MATCH, and the second part, ‘being played in Dacca’ by THERE. Now, the sentence is more cogent and less jarring.

In the example above the references to context are clear and we can avoid repetitions easily. In other cases the references may not be so clear. Using pronouns is a normal way for avoiding repetitions. Sometimes we could use other words also. For instance:

‘Mustaq and Riyan are brothers. Mustaq and Riyan like Hindi movies.’ can be written as:
‘Mustaq and Riyan are brothers. Both brothers like Hindi movies.’

Here we have replaced ‘Mustaq and Riyan’ by ‘both brothers.’ When you break down the elements of sentences it is easy to avoid repetitions of words and the quiz that follows tells you exactly how.

1.
"Many villagers are leaving the villages and the reason they are leaving the villages is because they are unable to get jobs."
Choose the option to replace the words in italics so as to avoid repetition in this sentence.
do such a thing
do this way
doing it
doing so
'Doing so' is used to avoid repetition of 'leaving the villages' and this is the correct tense form. Options 1 and 2 have the wrong form. Option 3 uses 'it', which is used for inanimate objects rather than verbs like 'leaving'
2.
"Can I ask you a question?"
"Yes, you can ask a question."
Choose the option to replace the words in italics so as to avoid repetition in the second sentence.
should
must
can
will
This is a short question and gets a short answer because we can use the same verb 'can' and leave out the question itself. Options 1 and 2 use the wrong verb and option 4 uses the wrong tense
3.
"Do I need to come fasting for the blood test?"
"Yes, you need to come fasting for the blood test."
Choose the option to replace the words in italics so as to avoid repetition in the second sentence.
do
do need to
need to
All of the above are correct.
Note that in option 2 we have used 'do need' and this is permissible - that is, we can use two auxiliary verbs also
4.
"I won’t clean my room today."
"You should clean your room today.
Choose the option to replace the words in italics so as to avoid repetition in the second sentence.
shall
should
could
All of the above are correct.
Sometimes when we reply to a question or react to a comment we may have to use a different auxiliary verb. All three options are different but correct responses to 'won't'
5.
"I yearn to be with my mother, I yearn to be fed by my mother and I yearn to listen to my mother's voice."
Choose the sentence with the least repetition from the following.
I yearn to be with my mother, I yearn to be fed by her and I yearn to listen to my mother's voice.
I yearn to be with my mother, I yearn to be fed by my mother and I yearn to listen to her voice.
I yearn to be with my mother, to be fed by my mother and I yearn to listen to my mother's voice.
I yearn to be with my mother, to be fed by her and to listen to her voice.
We have avoided repetition of 'I yearn' and replaced mother with 'her.' In the other options we have removed or replaced only one of the elements whereas it is possible to remove or replace all the repetitive elements
6.
"There has been a lot of speculation about why the Indian cricket team played so badly in the semi-final of the World Cup; the officials claim that they played so badly because they were tired."
Choose the option to replace the words in italics so as to avoid repetition in this sentence.
did so
do so
done so
doing so
'Did so' is used to avoid repetition of 'played so badly' and this is the correct time form. The other options all have the wrong time form
7.
"The filing of nominations commences 21 days prior to the polling day and ends 14 days prior to the polling day."
Choose the sentence with the least repetition from the following.
The filing of nominations takes place between 21 and 14 days prior to the polling day.
The filing of nominations commences 21 days prior to the polling day and ends 7 days thereafter.
The filing of nominations commences 21 days prior to the polling day and ends 14 days before the polling day.
Both options 1 and 2 above are correct but option 3 is wrong.
The essence of repetition is to ensure that original meaning is not lost. Both options 1 and 2 have discarded the second 'polling day' and used alternative phrases ensuring the meaning is kept intact. Option 3 has just changed 'prior to' to 'before' and this change can hardly be called avoiding repetition!
8.
"Bangalore has many broad, broad streets."
Choose the appropriate response to this sentence with reference to avoiding repetition from the following.
The repetition is acceptable.
One 'broad' can be removed.
Both 'broads' can be removed.
One 'broad' should be replaced by 'wide'.
The repetition is acceptable as the writer or speaker is trying to emphasise the broad nature of streets in Bangalore. In option 2, by removing one 'broad' the sentence loses emphasis. In option 3, if both 'broads' are removed then the essence of qualifying the streets is lost. In option 4, replacing with 'wide' does not show as much emphasis as the second 'broad' does
9.
"I love to play the drums."
"I love to play the drums too."
Choose the option to replace the words in italics so as to avoid repetition in the second sentence.
do
did
done
doing
In this sentence there is no auxiliary verb and in reply we can use the auxiliary verb keeping the time form intact. The other options all have the wrong time form
10.
"In the lecture, the speaker discusses the causes of road accidents. Then the speaker discusses the effects of road accidents. Then the speaker discusses the ways to reduce road accidents."
Choose the sentence with the least repetition from the following.
In the lecture, the speaker discusses the causes of road accidents and their effects. Then the speaker discusses the ways to reduce road accidents.
In the lecture, the speaker discusses the causes of road accidents, their effects and ways to reduce them.
In the lecture, the speaker discusses the causes of road accidents. Then the speaker discusses the effects of road accidents and the ways to reduce them.
In the lecture, the speaker discusses the causes of road accidents, their effects and the ways to reduce road accidents.
We have avoided repetition of 'The speaker discusses' and replaced 'road accidents' with 'their' and 'them.' In the other options we have removed or replaced only one of the elements whereas it is possible to remove or replace all the repetitive elements
Author:  V T Narendra

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