Therefore, here are some guidelines to consider to help you decide how to tackle this problem:
- Common words are like "and", "to", "are" and so on, connect phrases and sentences so are used repeatedly and we accept high repetition rates for these words as the norm.
- However, some words have a weightier meaning within a sequence: the repetition frequency of these "key" words is something we should consider more carefully if we want to create a stronger, more balanced, interesting message.
- Especially while writing evocative, engaging documents like those used in marketing materials, certainly try not to use the same "key" words within the same sentence.
- Sometimes, after re-reading your message, you may decide that the above guideline should go further and cover adjacent paragraphs - suddenly, your writing requires significantly more consideration.
- If you do consider that the same "key" word is called for in the same sentence, experiment whether another word or phrase that has essentially the same or similar meaning can be substituted, to help ensure that your sentence appears more balanced, interesting with added contrast.
- Here's one exception: when writing technical or plain-English documentation, user guides, manuals, and so forth, you'll almost always want to use the same "key" words and phrases more often. Why: to ensure your instructions or definitions are made absolutely clear early on. Easy to follow, specific action steps are often called for within user guides and ambiguity is the enemy. Within these scenarios and environments, creativity and variety take second place to clear, accurate meaning and simplicity of understanding.
Some Benefits of Taking Note of "Key" Word Repetition Frequency
Through careful consideration of how often your "key" words appear within your creative work and then applying subsequent remedial action where necessary, you can:
- Help make your overall message "tighter".
- Avoid a clumsy, amateurish "feel".
- Provide a stronger, more professional finish.
Key tip: some writers go much further suggesting that you should not repeat the same "key" word anywhere else on the same page - not an easy goal to meet. My response to this point is to suggest that you in most situations, you don't need to be so pedantic or hard on yourself. Better: trust your judgement as the originator and controller of your work. You're already in the best position to decide on "key" word frequency. So write your draft, edit well, read slowly, evaluate your document carefully, then make any additional changes you see fit.