I've been doing some data mining experiments, and something really weird happened one hour ago in the experiment result, and just now something similarly weird happened again.

I'm trying to think of an idiomatic way to describe the phenomenon observed in my experiments as I have to prepare a report for my advisor. A commonly used Chinese idiom (i.e., 无独有偶 just in case you can read it) quickly and naturally came to my mind, and I looked for English translations of the idiom.

I've found the following translation (apparently not idiomatic at all):

It happens that there is a similar case; it is not unique, but has its counterpart.

  • What do you mean exactly by "has its counterpart" here? I'm not exactly sure what you're after beyond just a similar case. Maybe give some more context, like a situation where you would want to use this thing? Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 3:58
  • @Cerberus Something really strange happens, people might be surprised or shocked by it. Then people should find another similar or even more. Let's formulate my request like this (as in my report): "...experiment result on this data set was exceptionally far beyond my expectation. Then I went on experimenting with more data sets, (the idiom goes here), similar or almost identical result came out."
    – Terry Li
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 4:21
  • Can the Chinese idiom be translated literally? I would be curious to see what it is (even though it probably won't make sense in English).
    – Andrew Vit
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 8:54
  • @AndrewVit I would literally translate it to : things always come/exist in pairs(more than one).
    – Terry Li
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 14:28
  • 1
    You might say that the first result was not an isolated incident. Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 23:10

1 Answer 1


Google Translate translates 无独有偶 as "Coincidentally". You could say:

Just now something weird happened. Coincidentally, the same thing happened one hour ago.

  • I've always been trying to avoid Google Translate. It turns out I'm totally too ignorant this time since Google Translate has worked so well with well-established idioms!
    – Terry Li
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 4:27
  • 1
    I don't think that 'coincidentally' is appropriate in your case. The word coincidence means that the two things may appear similar but happened by pure chance or by accident and there is no cause behind them. In your comment to your original post, it sounds like you are finding a real phenomenon in your data, so you wouldn't want to use that word. Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 5:10
  • Yes that's my concern as well. I think the results are destined to occur except that sometimes we are lucky enough to observe more one occurrence happening while most of the time we may not be able to.
    – Terry Li
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 5:17
  • @LukeHoffmann, I disagree, in technical report I would take coincidentally to mean this rather than that.
    – Unreason
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 9:08
  • Also, the other translation that google suggests is 'similarly'.
    – Unreason
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 9:13

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