I already know the term anaphora exists for repeating the same word for emphasis. I'm specifically interested in a term for repeating a word twice without additional clarification to express that something is especially strong or genuine.


"Do you like her, or do you like like her?"

"Are you making quick bread, or are you making bread bread?

"I'm so excited, I got a promotion promotion, with a pay raise and everything!"

I don't know that I've ever seen this in formal prose; it seems unique to spoken English, but if anyone knows of any written examples please add them. If no term already exists, I'd like to coin the term "duplication duplication," to distinguish it from ordinary duplication.


1 Answer 1


Yes, this is called Contrastive focus reduplication. It's pretty easy to find by searching for "like like", the most common example. ("like like" linguistics, to be exact.)

The examples from the Wikipedia article are:

  • "I'll make the tuna salad and you make the salad salad."
  • "How do they know it's turkey bacon and not bacon bacon?"
  • "I'm up, I'm just not up up."
  • "Is that carrot cheesecake or carrot cake-cake?"

Duplication duplication is a really cute description though! It doesn't quite fit with the more usual meaning, which is "literal" (unlike "like like" which is an exception--in that phrase, the duplication changes the meaning to a more specific one).

And to add some silliness on that note: You will literally explode, but you won't literally literally explode, right?

  • Hello, piojo. Please check for possible duplicates. 'Contrastive focus reduplication' has already been covered more than once on ELU. Oct 21 at 15:45
  • @EdwinAshworth Fair enough. I will do that in the future when it seems a likely common question.
    – piojo
    Oct 21 at 15:47
  • It's probably best to post (before someone else does) then search for your answer in possible duplicates. Contrastive focus reduplication is a more tractable search element than device of repeating the exact same word twice immediately to emphasize its sincerity or power? If an obvious duplicate, you can delete your own answer. Oct 21 at 18:11

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