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In a work by a major scholar, about a piece of music, he wrote that a passage was ‘repeated’ 7 times, when actually it occurs 7 times (stated once and repeated 6 times). Is his usage idiomatic?

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Kyle June 24, 2012, 8:08am

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Some might say idiotic.


Hairy Scot June 27, 2012, 7:28pm

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The passage was said seven times. ... That solves the problem.

But if someone were to say to me that he repeated the passage seven times, I would think that it was said seven times in total. However, if he said that it was said in the first stanza and then repeated seven times after that, I would think eight times all together.

AnWulf July 2, 2012, 3:44pm

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Yes, it is the idiomatic way of saying things in English.

D. A. Wood July 8, 2012, 8:45am

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but there is nothing wrong if we want to be specific about it, isn't that right? to say that the piece of metal has been processed once then refined four times actually gives me a better idea of the procedure it went through, rather than just knowing that it was refined five times to reach maximal purity or whatever it is?

shouldn't we be specific about taking down notes in this context and similar situations?

contributor September 1, 2012, 1:47am

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In other kinds of situations, we would say that a diamond was cut seven times -- rather than saying that it was cut once and then recut six more times.

A piece of metal or semiconductor was refined five times to reach maximal purity, rather than being processed once and then refined four times. Such efforts for purity are vital for materials in elecrical work - especially for copper and silicon.

I have now "reminded you of that four times", rather than told you once and then reminded you of it three more times

D. A. Wood July 8, 2012, 8:56am

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Yes     No