Writers, there lurks a danger here!
Evidence of the Pleonasm: Double Vision
This tiny little creature has at least two heads and a tangle of legs. It lurks in the grey matter of all thinkers and will on occasion spill onto the printed page along with the writer’s blood and assorted ramblings.
There it lies squirming, wild and untamed, defying all reasonable sense (or is it sensible reason?) Too many on a page may even expand your word count to the rejection of the whole article.
The best way of dealing with these, should you visually see one, is to cut one of its heads off. The creature will then lie flat, smoothing its twisted convolution of legs into a sensible phrase. But do be careful which head you chop off. Authors usually deal with the adjective head lest their phrases be left handicapped and disabled.
For example, should you see past history, true facts or a shared consensus chop the first head off. Thus past history becomes plain old history – or better yet, historically. Otherwise you’ll be in the past, which will up the word count.
If you can see clearly at 5am in the morning, chop the second head off. (And if you regularly get up at 5 am, or early in the morning, you may even catch a tasty worm – or digest War and Peace.)
If you’re up until 11pm in the evening, lay the evening to rest. If a tiny little flower springs up in your prose, you must trim some of its leaves.
Mental telepathy –which we may hanker after at times– also needs its first head cut off, so do be careful what you wish for.
Pleonasms may appear as two words, or they may form a puddle and really mess up word counts. ‘Used to go to’ is a sneaky one so common to our vernacular. I.e., “He used to go to flea markets on Sunday mornings before he became a Christian.” Snip, snip! “He frequented Sunday morning flea markets before..” or “Before he became a Christian he attended Sunday morning flea markets; now he’s in church.”
Bear in mind that now at this point in time editors prefer NOW. Times have become different than what they used to be changed; magazine editors want you to be in the immediate vicinity of the word count. Like near. Very close. Right on, even. We don’t always understand the reason why, but they do, having the end product in view.
And copy editors are even more finicky nitpickers.