Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

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24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with a passion. Learn More

Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with a passion. Learn More

Double Words

Is anyone annoyed by “double words,” such as:  Were you happy happy?  Was it fixed fixed?  Do you know how to type type?  Now, here’s a doozy:  “He’s in his office office.”  What in the heck does that mean?  I’d appreciate your feedback.

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I constantly hear my parents (who are of German descent) say double words in a weird way and I am trying to think of a way to describe it. It's not 'inflection' but it has something to do with the way they pause or lack thereof during saying particular words such as Pork Chop. They will say them with different tones like they are two different words and not part of one whole and it really irritates me.

Please, I need a terminology for this.

user107953 May-21-2019

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I think this use of double words is a necessary reaction to the blurring of literal and figurative uses of words. For example, many businesspersons have a 'mobile office' that consists of their smartphone and laptop. But they may also have a bricks-and-mortar office with a desk, chair, landline, and fellow office workers. How should one differentiate them? We can't really say that the latter is the 'real' office, as the mobile office performs its function in real ways and therefore wins the status of a 'real office'. A quick and unambiguous way is to call the latter the 'office office'.

The other examples given by Judith seem equally valid. Using duplication avoids having to use provocative or insulting expressions:
"happy or happy happy" = "genuinely happy or just faking it"; "fixed or fixed fixed" = "fixed the underlying cause or just kludged it";
"type or type type" = "type professionally or stumble along in an amateurish two-finger effort"

I don't think I'm going to use duplicate words in this way, but I think it's a legitimate addition to the language. It may not be English English but it is English.

PeterBee Aug-28-2018

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As far as I have studied the English language. I have yet to find an example where someone uses the word "I's" in a sentence. Most people use the genitive (possessive) "my" so it would be "John, Joe's and my baseball ticket..." What is happening over here in the United States is that there seems to be a new case forming among the newer generations -'(s) is becoming the genitive case. This also seems to be happening in African American Vernacular English where a habitual case formed giving us "I be doin' homework" which if translated into standard English would be "I do my homework at times."
New intricacies like these are constantly forming in different dialects which is what makes linguistics such a fun field. Most times, when these things become more common, they are accepted by the people regulating the language. Over time, that dialect can eventually become ITS OWN LANGUAGE! This is what happened with Latin and it is also the fate of the English language.

Areitoyaya Jun-05-2018

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I hear people both in person and on television using the alleged word "I's." Is there such a word. For example, people might say, "John, Joe's, and I's baseball ticket got lost in the subway." To me, that is just wrong and there is not such word as I's. Am I right?

Judith Urban Apr-12-2018

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Thanks so much for your response. However, I was very serious about double words. I find the use of them to be lazy and an avoidance to one's vocabulary-building. The people that I hear using double words are not saying them jokingly or for humor. In other words, instead of asking "Were you elated?", they say, "Were you happy, or were you happy-happy?" I dislike such lazy speech and hope that it does not become acceptable. Besides, it is often quite confusing, such as, "Was he at the gym, or at the gym-gym?" Someone said that to me and I don't know what he or she meant, nor did I feel that I should have to check for clarification. Thanks for your input.

Judith Urban Apr-12-2018

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I would imagine these are all mainly humorous.

Were you happy-happy, or were you just "happy" because you're expected to say so out of politeness?

Was it fixed-fixed, or was it just hardcoded or duct-taped to work for that one use case/scenario?

He’s in his office-office -- this could easily apply to my boss, who is a workaholic. Everywhere is his office, and then we have our real corporate office.

I can't say I see any need for saying "Do you know how to type type", unless most people they have encountered only know how to type with one finger and you're looking for someone who knows how to use all 10.

Vickie Apr-11-2018

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