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Exact same

Is “She was wearing the exact same outfit” grammatical? And if so, what part of speech is “exact”?

People use that phrase all the time, and seem to think it’s correct, so from a descriptive viewpoint it is correct. “Same” is clearly an adjective, and “exact” modifies “same”, so you would expect it to be an adverb.

So what’s the problem? Well, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th edition) doesn’t list “exact” as an adverb. It can only be an adjective (or a verb, with a different meaning). The adverb form is “exactly”. So if you take Webster as an authority, you should say “She was wearing exactly the same outfit” instead.

What’s the verdict? Do you think the first version of the sentence is grammatical or not?

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Why are people so stupid?

I'm amazed at the 100% specious, meaningless acrobatics some will go through in order to convince themselves they're not dumb for using an expression as boneheaded as "exact same." Not only is it not grammatically correct, it sounds completely asinine. Probably because it's so OBVIOUSLY incorrect and redundant. An astute 7th grader would probably look down on you for using "exact same."

SAME. MEANS. IDENTICAL. Do none of you have access to online dictionaries? I know you do. The WORD "identical" is used in its definition. More than once. It means the same. "Exact same" is redundant and even if it WASN'T YOU'D STILL BE SPEAKING LIKE SOME SORT OF IMPAIRED MUD GOLEM. YOU WOULD SAY "EXACTLY THE SAME" IF YOU WANTED TO "CLARIFY" - which you would have absolutely no reason to do in the first place, because "same" is an adjective that simply is. Not. Modified. By "exact."

Anyone and everyone can hate me. But the fact that there's an actual ARGUMENT going on about this is truly depressing. You don't need to feel bad that you've said something as stupid as "exact same" or "same exact" in the past. Or "whole entire" or "over-exaggerate." Don't feel bad, but recognize that there is absolutely no possible way to reconcile these expressions with proper English. The End.

Peter June 3, 2008, 10:13am

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You are all idiots. "Intellectually" championing a grammatically incorrect phrase to placate yourselves. It's like justifying a moral wrong because you like doing it. Is it, then, any wonder why half of America can't spell, read or write as well as an 8th grade Canadian?

"Exact same" or "same exact" are both wrong. Plain and simple. You all need to accept this in your lives.

It is a redundant phrase. (Feel free to look up the word redundant.)

The correct phrases available for you to use without sounding stupid around the whole of the known English speaking world are:

1. Same

2. Exactly the same

That's it. End of story. "Exact same" is never correct. Period. And "Same exact" is never correct. Period.

You all need to grow up, respect the language and follow the rules before you bring Orewellian Newspeak onto yourselves.

And while you're at it, quit saying "besides the point" and "in regards to" as well.

Mr. Right October 2, 2008, 5:40am

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Adverbs in general are dying out in the English language. For some reason we tend not to want to put the "ly" on the ends of our adverbs. It seems as if most American English speakers in casual speech feel more comfortable using adjectives in place of adverbs even though it is grammatically wrong to do so. For example, "He's done good." ("He has done well.") OR "He ran fast." ("He ran quickly.")

In this case, the proper way to write the above referenced statement is: "She was wearing exactly the same outfit that she was wearing last week."

The fact that a lot of posters on this thread cannot differentiate between adjectives and adverbs shows how much the use of the adverb has almost disappeared from casual speech. The words, "fast", "slow", "flat" are NOT adverbs. These are all adjectives. A car is fast, but I run quickly. I do not run fast. I also do not walk slow, but I do walk slowly. I can't even imagine how one would do something "flat" unless you were doing it flatly.

Trotski February 14, 2007, 6:05pm

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I don't care if it is grammatically correct or not, the phrase "exact same" is just annoying. It's like fingernails on chalkboard. A year ago, I had never even heard anyone use it, and then one day it was everywhere. Like everyone just woke up one day and said, "hey, let's use improper English today! That would be fun!" Whatever happened to "exactly the same"? Or just "the same", for that matter. And don't even get me started on "same exact".

Bobbie May 22, 2008, 6:24am

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I'm not done yet, it seems. Anonymous (the one who posted "Bob," and then proceeded to lecture as if they WEREN'T criminally retarded) I hate you.

Same does NOT.


NEVER. EVER. EVER. Mean "similar." Never. If it ever did it would be because a gang of buffoons hijacked our language and drove it into a Tardberry Tree.

Quoted directly from the "dictionary" you referenced in your wild fit of idiocy/arrogance (capitalization for emphasis):


With us so far?


Got that?


Hang on tight for the finale







Yeah, I am upset about this. You can be upset at me back, but don't try to justify speaking like somebody who reads mainly novelizations of Lilo & Stitch.

Peter June 3, 2008, 10:27am

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Exact same is tautologous as 'same' already means 'exactly the same'. Therefore it isn't grammatic, not by a long chalk. However that's only if you're bothered about that sort of thing.

fusthustler December 27, 2006, 7:57am

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"You should have seen them. They were wearing the same outfit."
"You mean, nearly the same, same color and style? Or do you mean the exact same outfit, same designer make and model?"
"No, I mean the exact outfit. Boy, did they look funny, two of them squeezed into one dress. I wonder how they went to the bathroom."

Anonymous February 20, 2007, 5:09am

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I'd say it's not necessarily grammatical, but as a well-established idiom, you don't sacrifice clarity by using it. It's similar to the expression "full well", as in "he knew full well that writing 'eaxct same' was ungrammatical, but his point was still made.

clare.kelley December 18, 2006, 6:00am

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I think "exact same" is redundant. What is added to same by prefacing it with exact? Isn't a thing that is the same as another thing JUST like that thing? And if it is not, then the word used should be similar, not same. So 'exact' adds nothing to 'same' except another word. And, it is never a good thing to add extra words (unless your teacher says you need to write a 2000 word essay--and that just opens up another thread!).

randerso March 27, 2007, 2:02pm

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I like "same difference". Whenever someone says "same difference to me, I immediately reply: " Oh, you mean, like seven and five..., and, uh, thirteen and eleven??"

Anonymous May 22, 2008, 10:49am

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Gee, Peter, I'm so sorry you hate me. I don't hate you. However, I don't happen to agree with you. First, how can you quote the dictionary I referenced when you don't even know what dictionary I referenced?

From the American Heritage dictionary, 4th ed. 2000, there are several definitions. Here are the first two:

1. Being the very one; identical: the same boat we rented before.

2. Similar in kind, quality, quantity, or degree.

How can that be? The dictionary says that "same" can mean either identical OR similar?

I guess you think that the only way you can eat the same thing for breakfast every day is to eat breakfast, regurgitate into a tupperware container, save it for the next morning, then eat it again?

I think you need a hug. I wish I could just reach through your monitor, pull you towards the screen and give you a big fat kiss.

Anonymous June 3, 2008, 11:14am

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The fact that we've been using language for thousands and thousands of years and can still communicate suggests that adulteration/rape/bastardization/prostitution of language does just not happen. Change is a fact observed in all languages. If you think that language can be degraded, then please show us what an undegraded language looks like, and show us how you objectively measure degradation.

"Ask a question" is a redundant phrase too. In fact, just about every English sentence has some redundancy. In fact, redundancy is an essential feature of language.

Yall need to read an introductory linguistics textbook.

John October 3, 2008, 2:40am

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I can't stand when people say"the exact same"...but I hear politicians say it...but that doesn't make it correct.
And "your right" right ? It should be you are right or you're right.

jim December 2, 2008, 4:33am

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Exactly THE same, please.................this is my worst grammar nightmare

robby November 24, 2009, 12:03pm

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I would argue that "same exact" acts as a unified adjective. There's no sense in trying to categorize this into an adverb modifying an adjective that modifies a noun because "same" does not modify "exact" the same way "very" modifies "similar" in "She has a very similar dress." One can naturally ask then "how similar?" Well, "very similar." If "same" were an adverb, could we respond to, "how exact?"with "same exact?" Exact quite literally, exact. There's no continueum of "exactness" that can be better defined with an adverb.

I'm guessing our children will be acquiring "same exact" as a single compound word (quite possibly, "the samexact dress").

No one would argue that "a graveyard worker" is an article + adverb + adjective + noun if it were to expand it to "a grave, yard worker." Even though that structure is entirely possible, we simply define "graveyard" as an adjective.

Joel H. January 23, 2007, 1:20pm

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I'm looking for a summer job, and it's very stressful. But I don't strictly need a hug.

The worst part is that I think you realize "exact same" is wrong. So wrong, in fact, that it can be insulting to people who take the time to learn their own language.

When you post spurious arguments in favor of the adulteration/rape of the language (spare me the line about how it's already bastardized and prostituted in so many ways, etc. we both know what I mean), and put down people who might not have strong opinions but DO recognize the wrongness of "same exact," (Bob) you risk being declared an Enemy of the State. By me.

People are stupid. The verisimilitude of posts by folks like Porsche and yourself potentially VALIDATES their extremely stupid behaviors. This is what I'm taking issue with.

Peter June 3, 2008, 12:38pm

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Actually, consider this. In "The sweater is dark blue", dark would be an adjective and blue would be a noun. Nouns, or noun phrases can be used as adjectives (like animal doctor or horse fly). Maybe in "...dark blue coat", dark is an adjective modifying the noun blue, and "dark blue" is a noun phrase acting as an adjective modifying "coat".
The same logic could work with "...exact same..." Exact is an adjective modifying the pronoun "same". The phrase is an adjective modifying 'outfit". It's just a thought.

porsche December 19, 2006, 9:57am

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I don't see anything ungrammatical about using "exact same" anymore than "nearly the same."

The guiding principle should be whether or not exact same is actually adding additional information.

In the setence "John and I took the same class." This could mean that we were in class together or that John and I took different sections of the same class, English 101 for example.

"John and I took the exact same class" clears up this confusion.

However, if John and I were in different sections, but we had the same professor, nothing is added by saying we had the "exact same" professor any other professor would be a different professor.

EvenitheDark73 February 10, 2007, 8:50am

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"Dark blue coat" does not include two modifiers for "coat". If it did, "blue dark coat" would convey exactly the same meaning, which it does not. A proper example this construction would be, "Peter is an obnoxious loud-mouthed poster." And while comprehension is linguistically an acceptable barometer of usage, still I lament the fall from grammatical grace indicated by the prevalence of "exact same." What a shame.

brotone January 6, 2009, 1:49pm

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I'd have to disagree that exact is an adverb in this case.

The dictionary lists exact as an adjective, the adverbial from is exactly. In this case, exact is an adjective modifying the noun 'outfit'.

Think about it this way:

Break up the sentence into two separate sentences.

"She is wearing the exact outfit."

"She is wearing the same outfit."

Both of these sentences are grammatically correct and demonstrate both 'exact' and 'same' as adjectives. Combined, they express the more emphatic idea:

"She is wearing the exact same outfit."

There is no reason why there can't be two adjectives modifying one noun, is there? Their placement in the sentence is confusing, but they are both in adjectival form, therefore they must both modify a noun. The same goes for the dark blue coat. Dark and blue are both adjectives modifying the coat. To say that the coat is dark would be true, to say that it is blue is also true.

This sort of problem is one unique to the English syntax, where speakers derive grammatical context mainly from word position and almost altogether ignore the actual form of the word. Languages with looser rules regarding the position of words rely on the form the word takes to find context (this is especially true in Latin, where word order is almost completely irrelevant, all necessary grammatical information being built into the forms of the words themselves). A Latin speaker would be stunned at our confusion on the matter: the word takes the form of an adjective, therefore it must be an adjective regardless of where it is.

GeoVII March 2, 2007, 8:03am

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It's possible that it is an adverb in this context. Not all adverbs end in "ly" - for instance "fast", "slow", "flat" are adverbs.

goofy December 18, 2006, 6:25am

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Personally I don't agree that 'same' and 'similar' mean the same thing, although I'll grant that in informal contexts people seem to accept that as being the case. Either way, I would favour the phrase "exactly the same".

I am in agreement with Trotski's comment on 2007-02-14 regarding the dropping of 'ly' off the end of words. I notice it a lot among American English speakers/writers, and it is a bad habit which is all too pervasive here in Australia (or at least Sydney). All too often I hear people say something like "I'll go direct to the shops" instead of "I'll go directly". How hard is it to say one extra syllable? Too hard apparently... :(

Anonymous March 15, 2007, 6:11pm

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You're right about tautology, goofy. Furthermore, fusthustler, 'same' does not necessarily mean 'exactly the same'. It can also mean 'similar'. That's probably why the phrase came about in the first place.

porsche December 27, 2006, 11:50am

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I've read the above thread (and its amusingly vitriolic interludes) with interest, and thought I'd proffer another bone on which to chew:

Isn't "exact" in the stated example inserted more as a form of an emphatic, rhythmic "interjection" and less for any strict semantic/grammatical purpose?

There are many examples in English where a word is inserted to fulfill a metronomic function, often at the expense of any particular semantic rule; however, it should be noted that this does not make it any more correct in a strictly grammatical sense -- if anything, the path meanders down to "dialect" or its ilk.


In addition to the given "exact same" (which I loathe just as much as my fellow loathers above), you can have "kit and kaboodle," "one fell swoop," "intents and purposes" (what's wrong with just the intent(s) OR the purpose(s)?), and even phrases like "the whole darn shootin' match" (it's not just the shootin' match, mind you, but the whole darn one at that!). That old FedEx slogan of "absolutely positively..." also comes to mind.

I think that these phrases contain no small amount of filler, albeit added as a drumbeat and not for their strict meaning.

Perhaps a similar effect can be seen at a syllabic level, with the omnipresent "motherf$$ker." I think the "mother" in there has less to do with incest, and more to do with rhythmic emphasis. If one tries to insult another by saying, "You're a f$$ker," I would advise the chap to make his point more emphatically by adding "mother" to the mix. In effect, it's like saying "f$$ker" twice (though "You f$$ker-f$$ker!" ain't the best of insults, is it). After all, you don't hear people saying "sisterf$$ker" (though "brotherf$$ker" has more of the assonance associated with the, er, maternal variant).

Another syllabic example would be the added "-a" as in "I'm-a gonna blast you" (attributed perhaps to Yosemite Sam at one stage)," though of course this smacks a little of stereotypically "southern"-sounding language.

In conclusion, I would venture that it's more to do with elongated phonetic mimicry for the purpose of emphasis, which -- dare I say it -- ups the "musicality" but reduces the "meaning."

Anyone still awake?

Sluggo March 22, 2009, 12:29am

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Uh, sorry Bob, but same does NOT mean "...JUST like that thing". If you would:

1 - read the above posts


2 - read the dictionary

you would find that the word "same" ALSO means "similar".

Anonymous March 28, 2007, 4:16pm

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John: thanks for pointing that out. I was indeed off the mark in making that last statement; I meant to say that it is more for the purpose of rhythmic emphasis and LESS for meaning (and not for reducing it full stop -- mea culpa).

More to the point, what do you make of the argument that words such as "exact" are used more to add rhythmic emphasis as opposed to the arguments based around the (questionable) grammaticality thereof?

Sluggo March 24, 2009, 12:58am

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Unthawed, wow, that's a good one. Tell you the truth, it only partly bothers me. If one says something is unthawed, meaning it is presently frozen but is expected to be thawed, then I would say "unthawed" is a perfectly useful word, downright wonderful. Unlike the adjective "unthawed", the verb "unthaw" is far more pernicious as it is usually used to mean the same thing as "thaw". I've posted this elsewhere, but my favorite is "deboned". If boning a chicken means to remove the bones, then what does deboning mean, to put them back in?

porsche October 28, 2012, 8:23am

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She was wearing exactly the same sweater > Correct!
She was wearing the exact same sweater > incorrect & "Redneck"!

Brunhilde January 29, 2013, 3:42am

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Jasper October 6, 2012, 1:00pm

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I think it's no different grammatically than saying "she's wearing a dark blue coat". Is "dark" an adverb? It's also not listed as one in the dictionary.

porsche December 19, 2006, 9:49am

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I agree with porsche. "Exact same" probably qualifies as a adjectival phrase, one that is in common usage. In the example someone used, "exact same" modifies "coat" in the same way that "dark blue" does.

becker December 21, 2006, 6:41pm

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From a semantics point of view, the phrase "the same outfit" suggests a similarity with the previous clothes worn earlier, but "the exact same outfit" clarifies and emphasizes that every single element was the same.

(Notice in the previous sentence that the adverb "every" is used to modify the adjective "single".)

Descriptive dictionaries are not ever fully up to date, so they cannot be expected to describe thoroughly all uses of each word.

Prescriptive dictionaries may say whatever they like, but if they do not comply with usage their prescriptions are likely to be ignored.

Hu December 26, 2006, 10:19am

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"Adverbs in general are dying out in the English language."

This is completely untrue. English has two kinds of adverbs: those that end in "ly" and those that don't.

In Old English, adverbs ended in either "lice" or "e". "lice" changed to "ly", and adverbs ending in "e" dropped the "e". This gave us adverbs like slow, fast, hard, right, wrong, loud, soft, quick, late, high, and low. They are called flat adverbs.

John March 20, 2007, 2:56am

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Thanks for your helpful comments.

Gwillim Law December 27, 2006, 6:35am

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Exact is the adjective; same is the adverb. Though the order is somewhat bizzare, it is gramatically acceptable and correct.

Tom.Brendlinger December 27, 2006, 7:48pm

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My husband thinks "exact same" is a Southern expression. Every time he uses it, he follows with " we say in the South" and thinks he is funny.
I don't know where he got this idea. Is there anything to it?

No one has mentioned "flat wrong" or "flat busted" (as in "broke"). In either case I think flat is adverbial; flat is used the same as very (= very wrong.). You could make the same argument for exact same; it just sounds dumb.

I would hyphenate dark-blue when used to modify a noun such as coat, and not when it's standing alone (his coat is dark blue=here dark blue is a predicate adjective.

monsterdog May 5, 2011, 10:02am

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Ignore the "noise" and go back to first principles.

Since "same" modifies the noun "outfit" it is ipso facto an adjective.

Since "exact" modifies the adjective "same" it is ipso facto an adverb.

Otherwise these grammatical terms are effectively imprecise and thus meaningless.

As for "the sweater is dark blue," "blue" is an adjective thus "dark" must be an adverb.

JJMBallantyne December 30, 2006, 2:09pm

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Sluggo, I wouldn't say it reduces the meaning, in fact I think it reinforces the meaning by adding redundancy. Redundancy in language is important because some elements of the signal are lost due to background noise, inattention, etc.

John March 22, 2009, 6:11am

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Folks, if I leave you with no other message today, I want you to remember this one – Barack Obama and Joe Biden are absolutely, positively, firmly committed to ensuring that our daughters and my granddaughters at the exact same rights and opportunities to control their lives as my sons and my grandsons -exact same rights. Make no mistake about that. These guys have a social policy out of the 50′s.

Joe (Redneck) Biden

Deano January 29, 2013, 5:42am

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This phrase has been annoying me for a long time. My theory is: Exact means an object is exact in every way - no differences - EXACT. Similar means SAME - meaning there can be some differences. The object is not exact, but merely almost the same. How can something be exact and similar at the same time? Makes no sense.

Shirley Young May 31, 2013, 3:12pm

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@Shirley Young - except same doesn't mean similar - these are from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary:

same - exactly like the one or ones referred to or mentioned
similar - like somebody/something but not exactly the same

There's no discrepancy between exact and same, and when we say 'exactly the same', we are just using 'exactly' as an intensifier, that's all.

Warsaw Will May 31, 2013, 4:30pm

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Just a thought on colours - going back to earlier comments. Compound colours like navy blue, royal blue, emerald green and pillar-box red are listed in the dictionary as adjectives in their own right. Perhaps the same could be said for colours preceded by dark, light, pale etc. And contrary to what monsterdog said, dark blue etc are not hyphenated, which also suggests to me that they are not adverbs as in - "a fast-moving car" etc.

What's more, as Verka has pointed out, we can precede light blue etc with very, which also suggests to me that these are adjectives.

Just this once, then, I disagree with JJMBallantyne. In fact, Oxford Dictionaries Online (and other dictionaries) list these as adjectives, specifically giving examples of them preceding colour and pattern adjectives:

light - adjective - 2. (of a colour) pale - "her eyes were light blue"

dark - adjective - 2. (of a colour or object) not reflecting much light; approaching black in shade - "dark green"

pale - adjective - 1. light in colour or shade; containing little colour or pigment - "choose pale floral patterns for walls"

bright - adjective - 1. giving out or reflecting much light; shining - (of colour) vivid and bold - "the bright green leaves"

Warsaw Will June 1, 2013, 1:03am

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LIfe keeps changing all the time so why wouldn't language and the way it's used and accepted?

greg the egg September 13, 2017, 4:27pm

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The bottom line is this: When you say "exact same", one may as well be saying "same same" or"exact exact", because grammatically they mean the SAME thing (pun intended, but true).

divadoll October 6, 2012, 2:19am

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Just a note-

"I think it's no different grammatically than saying "she's wearing a dark blue coat". Is "dark" an adverb? It's also not listed as one in the dictionary."

"Dark" and "blue" would both be adjectives; they are coordinate adjectives, but as they describe color, no commas are needed.

lesquelette January 28, 2007, 4:37pm

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I think it works more like an intensifier.
For example, how "very" works in the following sentence: "She had very light blue eyes. [She had very(int) light(adj) blue(adj) eyes(N)] ie: Not JUST any light blue eyes, VERY light blue eyes.
She was wearing the exact same outfit. [She was wearing the[det] exact(int) same(adv) outfit(N)] ie: Not JUST the same outfit, the EXACT same outfit.

Verka February 4, 2007, 1:57pm

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I agree here: aside from meaning identical, the word "same" also means "similar", which is probably, or rather, most likely the reason speakers add the adjective "exact" here:

Ex: She's wearing the exact same outfit.

It's perrfectly grammatical. However, it is somewhat redundant, at least to speakers who read, exact = identical. Other than that, there isn't a problem at all.

About its function. Notice the position of the word "exact". It comes after the definite determiner "the", which makes "exact" nominal, not verbal. Moreover, add -ly (make it into an adverb) and the result is ungrammatical:

Ex: *She's wearing the exactly same outfit.

"exact" isn't an adverb. It's an adjective (meaning, 'strictly accurate or correct, precise;e.g., an exact likeness; an exact description. Source: which, by the way, is the reason 'Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th edition) doesn't list "exact" as an adverb.' ;-)

In short, the problem here isn't "exact"; it's this assumption:

' "Same" is clearly an adjective, and "exact" modifies "same", so you would expect it to be an adverb.'

Why expect that? That's what has me stumped.

All the best. :-D

robyn.goyette February 19, 2007, 7:02pm

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Bro, why condemn people in search of knowledge and clarity of thought?
'The worst part is that I think you realize "exact same" is wrong. So wrong, in fact, that it can be insulting to people who take the time to learn their own language.' 'Wrong' is an absolute.

RE: topic, why would one ever put 'exact' and 'same' together? It means either 'identically not quite identical' or 'identically identical', right?

girlface December 15, 2011, 12:16am

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Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage: "The part of speech of 'exact' in 'exact same' is of secondary importance'. - (Incidentally they think it's better regarded as an adjective being used with another adjective for emphasis) - The primary question is whether the phrase is used by educated speakers and writers, and that the answer to that is yes."
And then they go on to give examples.

But porsche, I'm surprised at you - "The sweater is dark blue" - do you really think that blue is a noun? (what happens when you take away 'dark') -You haven't actually changed anything, just made the adjectives(s) predicative instead of attributive.

Warsaw Will December 15, 2011, 6:51am

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Will, surely, it was clear that I was offering off-hand speculation as to an alternate way of parsing, yes?

porsche December 15, 2011, 1:16pm

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Why use the words "exact" and "same" in the same sentence? Perhaps one could say she and I wore the same dress styles? The use of exact/same together just makes my teeth grate...arrgh.

Jinxgirl November 2, 2016, 10:30pm

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Oh my - if Woody Allen is meant to be a shining example of grammatic correctness, we're all doomed...

This is the same guy who likes to end sentences with "... where I'm at." - another pet peeve I'm sure I share with most who object to "exact same".

forrest December 30, 2009, 4:56am

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Actually when dark blue is used it should be hyphenated (dark-blue) to emphasise the shade of blue - therefore it becomes one descriptive word.

Eskay March 7, 2012, 12:43pm

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Blue can be an adjective or a noun. As a noun it is not hyphenated: Blue is a primary color.
As an adjective preceding a noun, it is hyphenated: I'm wearing a dark-blue shirt.
As a predicate adjective, as in "the shirt is dark blue," I believe most experts would not hyphenate because of the distance from the noun described.

monsterdog March 7, 2012, 12:55pm

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Correcting myself on my first point above:
Blue can be an adjective or a noun. Dark blue used as a noun is not hyphenated. Dark is merely an adjective modifying blue, as in "dark blue has more pigment than light blue."

monsterdog March 7, 2012, 12:59pm

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More heat than light has been generated in this discussion of the phrase "exact same."

Let's look at the sense of it. If I say "the exact amount" or "the same amount" there is no confusion, but there is a difference of meaning. The former is non-referential. Were it, say, a medical dosage, it might refer to the amount of medication needed for a particular case. The latter is comparative: take an amount of medication equal to what you took last time you had the clap (or whatever). The phrase "exact same" creates a third meaning: precisely the equal (amount). There is no ambiguity. Nor is any rule of grammar broken.

The construction "same exact" is a rhetorical flourish which has been used by such lights as Woody Allen to great effect. To deny it's legitimacy is to diminish the language. And that's no joke.

douglas.bryant November 29, 2009, 12:27am

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I think Porsche is probably right.

And fusthustler is wrong: tautology has nothing to do with grammaticality.

goofy December 27, 2006, 11:34am

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My husband thinks "exact same" is a Southern expression. Every time he uses it, he follows with " we say in the South" and thinks he is funny.
I don't know where he got this idea. Is there anything to it?

No one has mentioned "flat wrong" or "flat busted" (as in "broke"). In either case I think flat is adverbial; flat is used the same as very (= very wrong.). You could make the same argument for exact same; it just sounds dumb.

I would hyphenate dark-blue when used to modify a noun such as coat, and not when it's standing alone (his coat is dark blue=here dark blue is a predicate adjective.

monsterdog May 5, 2011, 10:02am

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When I was in school 50 years ago, my teacher said exact same was using two words together that mean the same thing. It still drives me nuts when someone says that (especially on TV coming from someone who should know better). It also is irritating when someone says "is is" or "unthawed".

Deano October 26, 2012, 10:39am

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Oh boy! I now have a PHD in the queen's language after reading your comments. Being 50 years old with a GED, I needed someone to tell me that I was right that there was some thing wrong with "exact same". And lo and behold, I got it. Thanks to Sluggo, John, Mr right, Trotski and Peter. Peter, I don't like the hate part,but yours was a serious class room lecture I never received. I appreciate it. NO HATE BUT LOVE. Cool!

SoonCome October 26, 2012, 8:41pm

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Thanks for speaking up about "is is." Haven't heard unthawed yet, but I have heard unfrozen. How do you like "less than 2% of the people" instead of "fewer than?" How 'bout lay and lie (a Pilates instructor I know says "now lie your head down") - or how about the incorrect but rather prissy objective case ("she gave Johnny and I a gift?"

monsterdog October 27, 2012, 8:28am

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Yes     No