It is "Twofold" racking my nerve for a while.

Not only should "Twofold" be taken into consideration but a series of them, like- threefold, fourfold, fivefold and so forth.

Should I consider them a replacement of double, triple, four times, five times.

If this is the case, below paragraphs makes no sense to me.

"The importance of this shift in focus is twofold. First, although cognitive models of job satisfaction such as Locke’s (1969) value– percept theory have a certain level of validity, they do not explain a majority of the variance in job satisfaction. Similarly, the dispositional sources of job satisfaction, although important, likewise do not fully explain individual differences in job satisfaction (Ilies & Judge, 2002) and do little to “enlighten the underlying process” (Weiss & Cropanzano, 1996, p. 9). Second, because much of the temporal variation in job satisfaction may therefore be due to variation in mood or affect (Fisher, 2002), studying the affective foundations of job satisfaction may allow us to better predict and understand job satisfaction as it is experienced by individuals. Thus,"

What exactly does twofold mean? as far as I understand it, it is used having two different meanings.

  1. amounts what are increased by multiplying them 2, 3, 4 ,5 ans so forth.

  2. two or more different things having dissimilarity to one another having same concept.

Am I correct?


3 Answers 3


I would say that the sentence can be rewritten as:

The importance of the shift in focus has two aspects.


The shift in focus is important in two ways.

Consult the definition of 'manifold,' which means 'many,' 'numerous,' or 'diverse.' Also, a manifold can be a physical tube or chamber with many openings, which is a good mind picture of what these -fold terms mean.


Note the two definitions of 'twofold in this dictionary: http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/twofold.

The second definition applies in the original sentence. 'Threefold' also has two dictionary definitions, as would the other -fold words.

  • I've actually closevoted as a duplicate, despite the fact that neither of the two earlier questions linked to by @jwpat7 are about the sense of that second definition. Which is all this question is about anyway, and it's General Reference. Commented Nov 9, 2014 at 13:39

The first sentence of your example could be rephrased as follows:

This shift in focus is doubly important.

In other words, the sense of doubling (the ordinary meaning of twofold) is still there, even if it isn't completely obvious. The same sort of analysis can usually be carried out, with varying degrees of ease, on most of the instances of twofold that you are likely to find. It is likely, though, thet you will, from time to time, run into over-extensions — instances where the authors are trying to use a turn of phrase that have impressed them in reading, but without fully understanding what it means or implies. It is also very likely that such over-extensions will lead to an eventual change in meaning, where the sense of doubling (or tripling, or quadrupling) is lost altogether and it simply becomes a "fancier" way of saying "there will be X number of things in this list".

  • 3
    I disagree that it could be written to say it is twice as important. It means it is important in two different ways, by which the rewrite would be "There are two ways in which this shift in focus is important". Commented Nov 8, 2014 at 15:15
  • @guifa — "Two ways of being important" is also double a single way of being important. Doubly important does not necessarilly imply "important in a single way, but with twice the intensity of importance".
    – bye
    Commented Nov 8, 2014 at 15:19
  • @bye, two-fold importance has an additional nuance vis-a-vis double importance. Commented Nov 8, 2014 at 18:28
  • Think, people! My double-pronged fork has two prongs, not one prong that's twice as long as a normal prong. I'm really getting tired of the idiocy around here.
    – bye
    Commented Nov 8, 2014 at 20:02
  • The prongs are identical, and of the same purpose. Commented Nov 8, 2014 at 23:28

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.