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I have written the following appraisal of my own writing:

"It is repetitive in parts and verbose in others."

The description characterises a document I have written comprising a number of arguments.

The verbosity relates to the wordiness of one argument, while the repetitiveness refers to another argument which I drum into the ready with multiple examples where perhaps one would suffice.

From Cambridge Dictionary:

verbose using or containing more words than are necessary: a verbose explanation/report/speech/style

repetitive involving doing or saying the same thing several times, especially in a way that is boring: a repetitive job/task

Should I consider this sentence appropriate as is? I think so, although there is some subtle overlap in meaning.

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    Hello, faustus. Please include the research you’ve done. Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic. If you add dictionary definitions of the two words, the problem may be cleared up. If this doesn't work, the question would then be considered on-topic at ELU. Mar 22, 2018 at 11:33
  • sure thing, my apologies
    – faustus
    Mar 22, 2018 at 11:34
  • Verbosity means exactly what you say, using more words than necessary to express something when fewer and simpler words would do the same job.
    – Zebrafish
    Mar 22, 2018 at 11:43
  • Repeating yourself [especially in a way that is boring] must mean that you are using more words than are necessary (and desirable). (Of course, repetition for emphasis is a different matter, but 'repetitive writing' defaults to the pleonastic sense.) You can avoid the 'It is either a bird or a sparrow' classification problem with 'It is often verbose and sometimes repetitive' or 'It is sometimes verbose – at times, repetitive'. // There are some who would argue that 'verbose' and 'repetitive' should be considered as disjoint classifications, but they need to support this claim. Mar 22, 2018 at 11:57

2 Answers 2

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I think that sentence is fine, you clearly know the difference between the two styles and unless you're writing for a broad audience the nuance should not be lost.

In answer to Is verbosity the same as repititiveness?

No, in fact I think you'll find the verbose vernacular is a broader categorisation of style, a kind of writing that seems to be at once clever but also self serving a kind of textual over production, which moreover brings me to think of repetition which is just so shallow yet powerful

No no no no

these are not the same

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  • Hello, Mr Telly. Answers considered appropriate on ELU include relevant supporting references where at all possible. I'll throw in a counter-argument to what you say here: Collins Thesaurus of the English Language includes 'tautological' and 'pleonastic' as synonyms of 'verbose', and Roget's Thesaurus 'pleonastic' and 'redundant'. Not that synonyms are usually completely interchangeable. Mar 22, 2018 at 11:48
  • I think I'll settle for (''redundant'')
    – MrTelly
    Mar 22, 2018 at 11:51
  • Fine. The definitions of 'redundant' include 'repetitive in expression'. {AHD 2b}. So you're agreeing that 'verbose' can mean 'repetitive' now. If you cherry-pick definitions, you must be prepared to substantiate that doing so is reasonable. Using supporting evidence (quotes from well-known linguists, encyclopedias ...). Mar 22, 2018 at 12:02
  • You might want to check the spelling of repitiveness.
    – KarlG
    Mar 22, 2018 at 13:25
  • cut/paste from the original repitiveness sic
    – MrTelly
    Mar 22, 2018 at 22:19
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I find that the sentence

It is repetitive in parts and verbose in others.

is itself an example of repetitive and verbose writing.

I am convinced that you understand the words repetitive and verbose, and you even sensed the "subtle overlap". To spell out that overlap: Repetitive writing, by its nature, uses more words than necessary. Therefore, you could simply say your writing is verbose.

If you are really determined to express that some of your verbosity comes from repetitiveness and some doesn't, you could at least economize by saying

It is repetitive and verbose.

The art of using as many words as you need, and no more, is difficult for some. I struggle with it myself, as you can probably tell from this answer.

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  • what if the repetition is from derived from over-doing one's argument by providing an excess of examples? would you say that its verbosity of argumentation?
    – faustus
    Mar 23, 2018 at 17:35

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