For the past few years I've been noticing a curious phenomenon. People are quite commonly saying things like "... the problem is is that we don't have access to ...". It appears that the first "is" has been grafted onto the semantic unit of "the problem" and is no longer being perceived as being present, so the speaker has to add the second "is".
I first thought that this might be related to situations where a repeated "is" is valid, such as
... the question is "Is this our only option?" ...
but it seems to occur mostly in constructs of the form
... the [x] is that ...
instead. I seem to be very sensitive to this and hear it several times a day, often on local or national news broadcasts. In fact, it's now jarring (in a good way) when I hear someone NOT repeating "is".
- Is there a name for this phenomenon?
- Is it as rampant as it appears to me?