Word Repetition – Using The Same Word Twice In A Row

November 25, 2011

in Novel Writing

 “He came in in a state of shock. This writing behavior looks weird and feels weird, yet it is actually perfectly acceptable to repeat words in this fashion. If you read a lot of books you will often see words doubled up by seasoned authors who care not that it may look a bit silly repeating themselves on paper. However, you will notice, if you use MS Word, that the grammar checker highlights such behavior as an error (repeated word). Personally, where possible, I avoid doubling up words in sentences because I think it looks inelegant and unprofessional. So, rather than be lazy, always search for a better way to phrase your sentence. See the examples below for ideas:

“When she came to my house I showed her her message.”

This sentence could easily be rephrased as, “She came over to my house and I showed her the message she had sent earlier.”

“I had had to go to the shops that Tuesday morning.”

This can easily be rephrased as,“I had gone to the shops that Tuesday morning.”

“We will discuss this this coming weekend.”

Replace the first “this” with a pronoun; “We will discuss it this weekend.” Or a noun; “We will discuss the matter at the weekend.”

“What it is is a complete mess.”

This is a poor way to start a sentence, anyway, so rephrase this as, “It is a complete mess…”

“He came in in a state of shock.”

Replace the prepositional phrase with a simple verb, as follows, “He entered in a state of shock”.

On occasion, an immediate repetition of a word, separated by punctuation, is appropriate for emphatic effect, for example, “I am far, far away from home.” So, the rule is, repetition of a word in a sentence that makes grammatical sense isn’t wrong, but there is actually no reason for this to occur if you put the extra effort in and revise your sentences accordingly.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Teddy Lee Szabo August 24, 2014 at 3:21 am

What person is not not wearing a hat? What does this mean?


Kristina Droz October 2, 2014 at 11:13 pm

Spotted a word repetition working with our content team – a good example for your blog

Originally: “Control phones and email from the same control panel”
Replaced with: “Manage phones and email from the same control panel”


Rebecca January 14, 2017 at 1:09 am

What if “you” appeared two times when i write an essay?
Example : “What if i told you you aren’t?”
The example is an actual sentence i used in an essay. Idk how to write it.


Mike Alan February 15, 2017 at 11:06 pm

Why would a person use “very, very; big, big; great, great in a sentence often? Give me insight on this? What’s it called in a character study? Thanks, Mike


GW May 22, 2017 at 7:41 pm

It most decidedly is NOT correct to use the same word in a row. I don’t know where this buffoon got his training in English grammar, but it has been clearly an error to use the same word twice in a row for centuries, as well as using the same letter twicce in a worrd; as you can see. Any author whose work is released with such grammatical errors, needs a new publisher, or editor, or both.
He must be one of those sub-par Millennials.


Jordan November 18, 2017 at 2:49 am

I was just curious if this sentence was grammatically correct: “The expert agency should be deferred to to create the uniformity.”

To clarify: “Furthermore, the definitions of “nuisance” have been vague and the laws have not yet been formulated and structured clearly, because the Court claims that the EPA are the experts. The Justices stated that the expert agency should be deferred to to create the uniformity.”

I don’t expect an answer before I finish the paper. I was just wondering about the appropriateness of using the same word or article twice sequentially.




Culley March 22, 2018 at 11:39 am

Using words that are the same back to back the way your all using them is called the I wantitis like gingivitis. Your neglected you have the I wantitis


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