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"There are loads you can lift by the strength of the natural power with which you are born"

Is the phrase "the strength of your natural power" redundant, or 'too literary?'

Thank you!

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    Although you can say "thanks", there's no s in "thank you". – snailboat Jan 13 '14 at 21:57
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    I don't find it distractingly redundant. I suppose one could say: There are loads you can lift using the natural power with which you are born, but I wouldn't necessarily call that an improvement, or say the original has a glaring redundancy that ought to be eliminated. It's a matter of preference. – J.R. Jan 14 '14 at 9:22
  • I do find myself asking why'd they use all those words? Why not something like, "There are loads you can lift unaided." Or "There are a loads you can lift with physical strength alone." – Jim Jan 15 '14 at 2:24
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    Well, the original is a fine example of anapaestic heptameter. None of the suggested improvements have any sort of meter at all. :) Man doth not live by bread alone and all that... – BobRodes Jan 22 '14 at 22:05
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It is not really redundant in my opinion, but you ask a second question about it being "too literary." I take this to mean "is it awkward" or is it "overly wordy" and I would say "yes."

The concept of "a natural power with which you are born" is contained neatly in the word "inborn" (generally not to be confused with "inbred") which means "present from birth" or "something hereditary."

"There are loads you can lift using [only] your inborn strength."

There still is a basic conceptual problem here though: one's strength is almost certainly much greater at age 20 than at age 1.

  • That is a very helpful answer. That is precisely what I did mean by "too literal." – asef Jan 14 '14 at 21:54
  • @asef "Too literal" and "too literary" are very different things. – snailboat Jan 15 '14 at 13:23
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"There are loads you can lift by the strength of the natural power with which you are born"
Is the phrase "the strength of the natural power" redundant, or 'too literary?'

I'll submit a defense of this sentence. Is it redundant? Yes! But that can be a good thing! Is it wordy/flowery? Yes! But intentionally for effect!

How can one analyze a sentence to determine if it's "too flowery" or "too concise"? It all depends on the context of (1) who the author is, (2) who the audience is, (3) what the author's intent is, and (4) whether or not this sentence was effective in achieving the author's intent with his/her audience.

Imagine this is a charismatic speaker talking to a receptive audience. The anapaestic heptameter of this line (*As BobRodes astutely pointed out. See below.) creates a rolling, driving, and perhaps even hypnotic cadence. This and other repetitive types of language would be the "bread and butter" of a professional charismatic speaker.

And, if you can forgive an exaggeration for the point of illustration, one can take this sentence out of context, look at it under a microscope, and then slice, dice, and sterilize it down to "You have inborn abilities." But that skeleton of a sentence has neither the life nor the spirit of the original.

The sentence is flattery to the listener. The emphasized words are loads, lift, strength, power, and born. You were born with a natural power of a kind of strength that allows you to handle many of the loads of life. But said more poetically.

  • Anapestic (da da DUM) heptameter (7): There are LOADS you can LIFT by the STRENGTH of the NATural POWer with WHICH you are BORN.

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