I'm very curious to know if there is a name, a word, or a literary scheme/figure of speech/literary device for when in a conversation, you present two choices which are the same, in which the speaker would just want to emphasize the importance/gravity of the option.

For example:

  • Two friends walk out of their air-conditioned cars, alighting onto the crack-filled asphalted road in the middle of nowhere.

    Friend one: Is it hot out here or is it hot out here?

I was wondering if figures of speech can go this specific, and if so, I'd be glad to know some new things other than gobbledygook.

P.S. It would be a noun, so I would be using it accordingly.

  • This has some family resemblance to reduplication, but it doesn't quite fit the classical definition of that term.
    – Dan Bron
    Dec 3, 2018 at 15:04
  • 3
    It's a rhetorical question with an extra twist. The garden variety RhQ in this case is Is it hot out here or isn't it hot out here?, which is simply a duplex Y/N question, giving both options (though conventionally it implicates the answer that, yes, it's hot out here). The twist in this one is that removing the negation in the second disjunct removes the option of answering "no"; i.e, it's implying that it's hot out here, and there's no denying it. Dec 3, 2018 at 15:26
  • Diacope comes close. Fairly close. :)
    – Lawrence
    Jan 10, 2019 at 2:57
  • 1
    Six of one, half dozen of the other.
    – Hot Licks
    May 10, 2019 at 0:06
  • 1
    It seems to me that the form in the example is relatively recent, and as such has not been given the honour of a formal classification and a (Latin or Greek) title. I would call it "rhetorical repetition".
    – Greybeard
    Feb 27, 2020 at 10:20

2 Answers 2


The form “x or y” (where x and y are possible statements or actions) is called a dilemma.

When other options are (deliberately) omitted (implying that the mentioned two are the only realistic options), it is called a false dilemma, which is a type of informal fallacy.

When x and y are the same (implying that only twice-mentioned option is the only realistic option), the form becomes “x or x”. I suppose that one could call this an isodilemma.

I admit to making this term up, but I believe it fits.

And I agree that the literary device is common enough that it deserves a fancy name.

(I also considered, but dismissed, *a monolemma.)

  • 2
    +1 for a nice use of the lemmatic approach.
    – user205876
    Aug 26, 2019 at 3:23
  • They're both pleasing neologisms, but i'd vote for "monolemma" as the intended meaning is more easily guessed. It conjures up a situation where you have two difficult choices which are the same (ie you have no real choice other than to do the difficult thing), which isn't quite the same as the example but I think it still works. Feb 27, 2020 at 11:31

I think the word you are looking for is Epizeuxis. According to Wikipedia, an epizeuxis is the repetition of a word or phrase in immediate succession, typically within the same sentence, for vehemence or emphasis. The website, Literary Devices has even more information about this for you to see.

Since a rhetorical question is really just a statement rather than a question--and your question is rhetorical--the fact that there are options to pick from doesn't really matter, does it? After all, the options are non-options anyway and they are repeated merely for emphasis.

So I would say this word fits.

Also, there's the word Diacope, in case you want to think of the conjunction 'or' as breaking up the two phrases (questions). It is a repetition of a phrase or word, broken up by other intervening words, according to Literary Devices.

So, there is another word that fits.

  • Neither epizeuxis nor diacope is the offering of two identical choices.
    – AndyT
    Oct 30, 2019 at 11:33

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