Sometimes I read, write or speak a sentence where a single word appears twice in a row. For example:

The book he had had a torn cover.

I was curious if there was a formal term for such a pattern.


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    No, there's no name for that kind of accidental pattern. The only reason that there are two had's in a row is because the first one is at the end of a relative clause ((which) he had), and the second one happens to be the verb of the main clause. That's an accident and there's no name for it. On the other hand, if two words are repeated on purpose, like talk-talk, chop-chop, go-go, moo-moo, muu-muu, bon-bon, etc, then the word for it is Reduplication. If only part of the word is repeated, but again on purpose (willy-nilly, nazi-schmazi), it's partial reduplication. – John Lawler Aug 9 '13 at 0:09
  • Is, there, there an example of reduplication, as in, "Hush now child, there, there?" – Scott Mitchell Aug 9 '13 at 2:55
  • Yes, that's reduplication. It's often used for emphasis or to difference the utterance -- somehow -- from an ordinary usage. In many languages it's used in the grammar. In Lushootseed and in Indonesian reduplication of some kind is (roughly) a plural marker, for instance. – John Lawler Aug 9 '13 at 2:57
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    … whereas in Chinese, it is used as a diminutive (mostly with verbs), or a way to make frequentative/intensive adverbs from adjectives (although the latter differs by being ‘broken reduplication’ where each constituent in a word is reduplicated separately). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 10 '13 at 3:21
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    @JohnLawler Your comment is better than some of the answers here. I think it should be posted as an answer. – starsplusplus Feb 21 '14 at 11:26

There is a name for it, anadiplosis, but it is often used for emphasis.

(i.e. Fear leads to Anger; Anger leads to Hate; Hate leads to suffering ~ Yoda)


When it's done accidentally it is called ‘dittography’:

Dittography is the accidental, erroneous act of repeating a letter, word, phrase or combination of letters by a scribe or copyist.

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    interesting but OP's case is not erroneous – d'alar'cop Feb 21 '14 at 10:00

Repetitious words.

Repetitious words used in a sentence are generally frowned upon unless used as a way of purposely trying to create emphasis. It is better for readability to vary the usage of words and leave out unnecessary repetitious words. Try to use any other word in its place.

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