If you make the tuna salad I'll make the "salad-salad"

That car is mine but it isn't "mine mine" it's my brother's

I like him but I don't "like-like" him

  • Yes, reduplication.
    – user339660
    Commented May 7, 2019 at 16:48
  • From @FumbleFingers’s link these, specifically, are examples of Contrastive focus reduplication
    – Jim
    Commented May 7, 2019 at 16:58
  • The best part of reduplication is reduplication reduplication. Just keep adding likes to add more emphasis. “But what if he doesn’t like, like-like me?!" “You mean, what if he like… only like-likes you?” Commented May 8, 2019 at 4:38
  • Very idiomatic. I use it quite a lot (UK). If I don't say "...the car isn't mine mine; it's my brother's", I might say instead "...the car isn't really mine; it's my brother's". Although it's a bit of a mouthful, the best label for this usage seems to be contrastive focus reduplication (see answer below).
    – Dan
    Commented May 8, 2019 at 9:43

1 Answer 1


Reduplication works. This type of reduplication can also be called contrastive focus reduplication or lexical cloning 1 2 3.

lexical cloning example from Zits

Reduplication more generally includes combinations like willy nilly and clip clop 4.

  • +1 for 'contrastive focus reduplication'. (btw your links are not very helpfully organised; try to make the word itself the link rather than the tiny superscript)
    – Dan
    Commented May 8, 2019 at 9:46

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