Over the past few years I have often heard people repeat the word "is" unnecessarily, for example, "My concern is, is that by going backwards we will throw a spanner in the works and that momentum will be halted." (Sir Michael Wilshaw, Chief Inspector of Schools, Radio 4 Today Programme, 9th September 2016.)

Sometimes, as in the above example, there is a discernible pause between the two words, and sometimes there is none.

Has this phenomenon been remarked upon and does it have a name? If not, may I suggest "isisism".


1 Answer 1


Maybe it's just a hesitation. We are thinking while we are talking, sometimes we need a pause to think it over, when we start again, we repeat the last word.

  • I'm sure that's often the case, but I've also heard it said with no hesitation at all, with the speaker seemingly unaware of the repetition, for example, "The answer is is that it's not worth the money.". Perhaps because "is" is such a small word there's an unconscious compulsion to give it more weight by repeating it. Sep 10, 2016 at 13:48

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