Trapped by Your Own Language

What do you think of the text below?

Years ago, when she was a child, Maria used to wait anxiously for Christmas time. Who delivers Christmas presents in Brazil is Santa Claus. He always has a lot of work and needs to pre plan for Christmas deliveries. Fortunately, Santa has a little help from the elves. But how does he know what each child wants to receive? The optional choice of gifts is made by each child, through letters. The letters are written with great care and minute details. It is common to attach together photos and drawings to the letter, explaining what one wants for Christmas.

An important and true fact is that to get presents children should not misbehave or do things expressly forbidden by their parents. Naughty children do not get gifts from Santa! Usually, the child hands the letter to a parent, who promises to go to the post office. Another alternative is the child to go to the Post Office to deliver his letter by himself.

Moving on with the story: Mary was very curious and wanted not only to get a gift but also to see Santa Claus. She was not sure he existed, so it was important for her to see him. Every Christmas Eve was exactly the same. She used to say she was going to bed and stayed awake in her room, hoping to see Santa arriving with her present. She returned back to the bedroom door several times, until she felt asleep. Every year she created a new trick in order to see Santa, but she never managed to do so. In the morning Maria had her free gift and an unexpected surprise: Santa Claus always included an extra treat for her.

Weird text, isn’t it? It is full of redundancies, which means excessive wordiness or repetition in an expression. These are also pleonasms, the figure of speech that consists of the use of more words than necessary. Read the same story without pleonasms below:

Years ago, when she was a child, Maria used to wait anxiously for Christmas time. Who delivers Christmas presents in Brazil is Santa Claus. He always has a lot of work and needs to plan for Christmas deliveries. Fortunately, Santa has a little help from the elves. But how does he know what each child wants to receive? The choice of gifts is made by each child, through letters. The letters are written with great care and details. It is common to attach photos and drawings to the letter, explaining what one wants for Christmas.

An important fact is that to get presents children should not misbehave or do things forbidden by their parents. Naughty children do not get gifts from Santa! Usually, the child hands the letter to a parent, who promises to go to the post office. An alternative is the child to go to the Post Office to deliver his letter by himself.

Moving on with the story: Mary was very curious and wanted not only to get a gift but also to see Santa Claus. She was not sure he existed, so it was important for her to see him. Every Christmas Eve was the same. She used to say she was going to bed and stayed awake in her room, hoping to see Santa arriving with her present. She returned to the bedroom door several times, until she felt asleep. Every year she created a trick in order to see Santa, but she never managed to do so. In the morning Maria had her gift and a surprise: Santa Claus always included an extra treat for her.

Much better, isn’t it?

[Português]

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