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I'm not sure how to explain it, but whenever I come across a situation where two of the same words are used together I'm not sure whether, in terms of grammar, it is correct.

For example, "I could get by in Malta by teaching the small portions of the Maltese population who can't speak English, English."

Is that correct to say, or has this happened because the sentence is worded poorly? Would it make more sense if "who can't speak English" was a subordinate clause?

  • I apologise for poorly wording the title of the post. I didn't check that before posting it. – Hannah Nov 18 '17 at 23:38
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This is a question of diction rather than correct grammar. It's awkward to repeat a word twice in a row unless you are reproducing the way someone actually speaks, in a line of fictional dialogue, for example. Simply reword it: for example, "I could get by in Malta by teaching English to the small portions of the Maltese population who can't speak it." There are a few instances in which repetition of a word twice in a row is familiar, for example: "Whatever is, is." (In that instance, the comma between the subject, "Whatever is," and the verb, "is," is allowed or encouraged.)

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