In the sentence below the word "easy" and "easier" are used. Is it okay to make this sentence?

"Because it is easy to make the characters bigger, it's easier to read it."

closed as off-topic by ScotM, Edwin Ashworth, Ellie Kesselman, Drew, Tushar Raj Jun 21 '15 at 19:37

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    It's grammatically correct, but it doesn't make much sense. That characters are easier to read when they're bigger is independent of how difficult it is to actually provide bigger characters. – deadrat Jun 19 '15 at 5:24
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    Large fonts help make reading easier. "Reading is made easier thanks to large fonts/characters" – Mari-Lou A Jun 19 '15 at 11:02
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    Your final it does not have an antecedent to refer back to. “Because it is easy to make the characters bigger, it’s easier to read [what?]”. And, as others have mentioned, it’s not easier to read ‘it’ (whatever ‘it’ may be) because it’s easy to make the characters bigger. It may be easier to read because the characters have been made bigger, but that’s a different thing. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jun 19 '15 at 11:26
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    Yes, yes you can. Sometimes it sounds right. Sometimes it sounds awful. – Wayfaring Stranger Jun 19 '15 at 11:53
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it masks the actual question by using an illogical sentence. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 20 '15 at 10:06

That sentence is not OK. When you use 'because', you should follow up with something relevant e.g.

"Because it is easy to make the characters bigger, we should do it as it will aid readability".

In your example, the 2nd clause, whilst related (and people will understand what you mean) does not follow on correctly. If you rewrote it as

"Because it is easy to make the characters bigger, we should do it as it will be easier to read"

it would sound better. But even here, the repeated use of 'easy', whilst acceptable, does not sound as good as something along the lines of :

"Because it is simple to make the characters bigger, we should do it as it will be easier to read".

It just sounds better to not repeat words.


Writers are often advised to avoid using the same word twice in one sentence. But that's really an oversimplified statement.

If you use the same word repeatedly, a sentence can sound repetitive and awkward. In such cases, it's a good idea to look for synonyms of the word you're tempted to repeat, or to rephrase the sentence. If I started to write, "I drove my car to the car dealership where the car salesman sold me a new car", while, that just sounds really bad, way too repetitive. I'd probably recast it to something like, "I drove my car to the auto dealership where the salesman sold me a new vehicle."

But there are many cases where there's no need to worry about repeating words. Short, common words, like articles, prepositions, and pronouns, can be repeated much more freely before a sentence starts to get awkward. Few will even notice that you used "the" or "she" three times in a sentence.

Sometimes you want to deliberately use a word repeatedly for emphasis or parallelism. For example, the phrase "Happy wife, happy life" is pointed precisely because it uses the word "happy" twice (plus a rhyme). It would be considerably less catchy if phrased, "Happy wife, pleasant existence."

The wording in your example sentence is a bit odd, as Deadrat points out. If it was hard to make the characters bigger, but someone still went to the effort, would they cease to be easier to read?

In any case, your use of easy/easier sounds like a mild parallelism. If that was your intention, you probably should make it easy/easy or easier/easier. If that was not your intention, you might want to choose a different word. But "easy" is a short and common enough word that it doesn't sound all that awkward.

  • Is that why we say "lead a ___ life"? How about "die a ___ death"? I see that very often. Is it because there's no other way to put it or is it a general expression? – RexYuan Jun 19 '15 at 13:02
  • "Die a _____ death": Hard to see how else you could say that. I suppose you could say "experience a _____ death" or "suffer a _____ death". As to "lead a ____ life", "lead" and "life" aren't really related. you can lead many things other than a life. Like you can lead a horse to water as long as you don't try to make him drink. – Jay Jun 19 '15 at 13:14
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    "I drove my car to the auto dealership where the salesman sold me a new vehicle" makes it sound like you ate a thesaurus for lunch: the repetition of the concept is just as awkward as the repetition of the word it replaces. And, arguably, it makes the sentence less clear. I don't know if, by not calling it a car, you're trying to say that you bought some other kind of vehicle. "I drove my car to the dealership, where I bought a new one." – David Richerby Jun 19 '15 at 14:08
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    @Jay I suspect RexYuan meant to say “Live a ____ life”. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jun 19 '15 at 15:20
  • @RexYuan There are many exceptions like that in English to show emphasis. – Renae Lider Jun 19 '15 at 16:58

Grammatically speaking, as long as all the words are in the right place you can repeat words as much as you want to. Repeating words is a matter of style. Many repeated words within a sentence or a paragraph will make it feel simpler. This is a good way of teaching children how to read, by using simple, repetitive language.

Varying the words used makes the sentences seem more sophisticated but it is important to still use words that the target audience will easily understand. A good quality thesaurus will list many words from common to extremely rare so it is a bad idea to try to use all of them before repeating a word! Also, some words which generally mean the same thing have subtle nuances which means they might not always be suitable replacements.

If you are learning English and your vocabulary is smaller than a native speaker's, just use what you feel comfortable with and listen to how native speakers speak as well as noticing both repeated words and different words with the same meaning. Over time you will get better at constructing your own stylish sentences but repeating a word or two will not stand out to most people.

If you are writing a novel and want to appear like a sophisticated author, then you would want to vary the words you use, but even someone whose English is good but still learning can do this with the help of a good editor who is a native speaker who understands what makes good English.


You can repeat the same word as many times as you need to, in as many forms as you want. See also: Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo, which is a grammatically correct sentence.

However, as the same example shows, doing so can make your sentence increasingly difficult to read, as the reader must now parse all possible meanings of the word you're using. Particularly if the word is repeated adjacent to itself. See also James, while John had had "had", had had "had had"; "had had" had had a better effect on the teacher.

So, just because you can does not mean you should.

As discussed elsewhere, there's two major grammatical errors with your example sentence.

  1. The two clauses joined by "because" are in no way dependent on or related to each other. The ease of making characters bigger has no effect on the ease of reading. The act of making characters bigger is what has an effect on ease of reading.
  2. The final "it" is not referring to anything apparent within the sentence. One may be able to infer that you're referring to something that is being read, but that's never stated.
  • I prefer the even crazier example sentence, "Wouldn't the sentence 'I want to put a hyphen between the words Fish and And and And and Chips in my Fish-And-Chips sign' have been clearer if quotation marks had been placed before Fish, and between Fish and and, and and and And, and And and and, and and and And, and And and and, and and and Chips, as well as after Chips?" – neminem Jun 19 '15 at 18:24

It's perfectly fine. The first "easy" refers to the difficulty of making characters bigger and the second "easy" refers to the difficulty of reading the characters.

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