1. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    Repitition

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by waitingforzion, Jul 1, 2016.

    Some in this forum have marked for deletion any and all passages that contain the same words or phrases repeated in close proximity. To those people I would like to say, though unlike them I am no expert editor, that not all repetitions are bad, for some are a valid application of rhetoric, and we know that rhetoric is the art of eloquence. For in the speech of Martin Luther King, we find repeated the phrase, "I have a dream". Let us therefore not mark for deletion every instance of repetition, for even a great number of style guides, in all their scorn for abundance, do not tell us to shun such things, but rather encourage them.
     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    You know what? I more-or-less agree with this, and I think it was reasonably well written.

    Good job.
     
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  3. Cnayur
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    Cnayur Member

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    I agree that repetition need not be stamped out mercilessly wherever it rears its (ugly?) head. In poetry especially (but in prose too, of course), repetition can be used to very powerful effect. As a word of warning though, I believe that there is definitely a difference between conscious repetition, wielded skilfully by the writer, and accidental repetition that is just a waste of words.

    God, I sound pretentious! :D
     
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  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yes. And this is true with much advice that is presented as a rule (such as showing instead of telling, not using passive voice, and so on). The advice is really intended to cause writers (particularly beginners) to reflect on their work and to avoid unintentional usages that make their story less effective.
     
  5. Cnayur
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    Cnayur Member

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    The rule that doesn't have an exception would be an exception to the rule, or something. :) About that repetition: I recently wrote a villanelle. It's a poetic form that stands out not in spite of repetition but because of it. Consisting of two alternate refrains that are constantly repeated, this poem thrives on its repetition. That is, if the poem is written well. For one of the more famous examples of villanelles, consider Dylan Thomas' Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. Repetition, masterfully used to hammer home a point.
    https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/do-not-go-gentle-good-night
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2016
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  6. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    The real rule is: write effectively. Use your words well.

    All the other rules? They come in when people try to explain to other people why their words aren't effective. And the feedback is often accurate when applied to the original piece, but that doesn't mean it can be applied more broadly without losing a lot of value.
     
  7. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    I chanced across 'rhetorical anaphora' when trying to de-amateurise some poetry I was attempting. It's a fantastic device for emphasis that makes deft use of repetition. A great example would be Ronnie Barker's 'What Luck' speech. If you've got the skill to apply it; I say go for it. There's another kind which is nearly the opposite and that's anaphora which I believe is grammar based. (gone foggy headed gonna google).

    Yes, it's a reference (alternate word or synonymous phrase) that harks back to an introduced original. A case in point being the pronoun 'she' when referring to a close by and prior mention of 'Sarah'.

    I'm mentioning this because it's a bugbear of mine when pronouns are overused and put in too close a proximity to each other—they can be fewer and echo through a sentence a lot longer given the right treatment.
     
  8. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    Sarah smoked. She smoked at breakfast, she smoked at lunch and she smoked at dinner. She smoked at parties. She smoked in the car. She smoked in the bath. She smoked roll-ups, those wonderful tubes of joy that brought so much pleasure in their creation, that exercised otherwise dormant digits to the extent that smoking became a celebration of the art of creation itself, a dexterous art, lost to the clean ones of the digital world, a twitching and flexing of fingers that birthed a thing of beauty, that revelled in the physical, that delivered tollerable escape straight to the lungs in a self-consuming act of release, a flight from tension, from sterility, from the shackles of health-and-safetied lives.

    Sarah liked to smoke.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2016
  9. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    @Wayjor Frippery you pulled it off but you know...

    Sarah coughs, coughs on wake up, coughs in the bathroom, coughs in kitchen roll and leaves it on the breakfast bar before 'koffing to work. She's not for me.
     
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  10. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    Yeah, not for most, not really for me. Smells bad.

    :)

    (maybe related: currently reading The Maltese Falcon, great cigarette rolling moments...)
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2016

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