A speaker might say things like -

It was a really, really big lie that John told.

Is this a correct usage?

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  • What part of the sentence is unclear? – user66974 Jul 20 '16 at 19:19
  • It's fairly idiomatic. – Hot Licks Jul 20 '16 at 19:30
  • 2
    Shakespeare uses 'A little, little grave' (perhaps without the comma) in Richard II. And Wild, in For a Few Dollars More, in response to Col. Mortimer's 'It's a small world', responds 'Yes, and very, very bad.' Whereupon Mortimer (Lee Van Cleef) shoots him. Possibly not because of the 'very, very' construction. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 20 '16 at 20:50
  • This posting has been bled dry through over-zealous editing done in an attempt to render it less controversial, and the result no longer bears any resemblance to the original intent. – Cascabel Jul 20 '16 at 23:14

Repetition of the adverb for emphasis may be effective on occasion, but I saw the original post, and I think this quote is suitable.

Adverbs...when used excessively.....[the writing] takes on an overly dramatic tone, perhaps even sounding preachy...leads to redundant phrasing and the appearance of a writer whose repertoire is lacking.

I think this fits the situation and the source of the quote.


It's technically correct. There's nothing nothing wrong with repeating a word for emphasis, especially in conversation. However, in formal writing it may be more appropriate to write directly: "John told a really big lie."

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