Repeating a word or phrase happens to the best of us, especially if you’re writing an article and using a specific vocabulary for your topic. You won’t even notice you’ve used the same word several times in the span of one paragraph because it’s foremost in your mind. But those repeats can set off an echo in the reader’s mind – that subconscious feeling of “Didn’t he just say that?” It can be irritating to read and, worse, it can detract from what you are trying to say. The more uncommon a word or phrase, the more likely it is to echo, even pages apart.
Consider the following text:
- At your next get-together, cook together as a family and enjoy the benefits of creating a meal together and the bond you’ll create.
It is easy as the reader to point out how many times “together” is used in the above example, but as the writer, you know what you meant to express and so the emphasis sounds natural to you.
Although it happens all the time, it can be difﬁcult for you, as the writer, to spot when you re-read it. When you are editing you usually go over the same piece several times and so you become impervious to that echo feeling. And when you are looking at a sentence on its own and making amendments, you can sometimes input a word that is just right for that sentence, forgetting that you also used it in the one before or after.
ProWritingAid’s Repeats Check highlights words and phrases repeated within a few paragraphs so you can easily track down unintended repetition and replace it with a more diverse vocabulary.