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Is this correct?:

"But I guess all there was was such a big lie."

I think I've heard that sentence in somewhere and it sounds to my ears just fine but wanted to make sure if it was still right.

(My question was closed before.)

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    That's a little awkward, but legit.
    – Hot Licks
    May 7, 2019 at 11:54
  • I'd add a comma after the first was May 7, 2019 at 17:04
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    You said your previous question got closed. Was was was the topic of that question as well?
    – Jim
    Nov 18, 2019 at 21:39
  • There's a Mavis Staples album called "If All I Was Was Black". Which appears grammatical to me.
    – Stuart F
    Nov 19, 2019 at 10:45
  • As for was, was was never used in future tense.
    – Ram Pillai
    Nov 19, 2019 at 20:40

1 Answer 1

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Your sentence, "But I guess all there was was such a big lie," is grammatically correct. The accuracy of your sentence can be demonstrated by manipulating the noun phrase (NP) in the middle of your sentence. The NP all there was can be replaced by it, which results in the following sentence.

But I guess it was such a big lie.

While your initial sentence may sound wrong due to a double word, the only issue is a clunky noun phrase. The structure of an NP is (compliment) + noun + (compliment), and it functions as a single noun. Therefore, the phrase can be readily replaced by a single pronoun, and the flow of your sentence is resolved.

Ultimately, the only issue is flow, and the usage of two, consecutive was is completely acceptable in this context.

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