Double copula

Double copula

The double copula, also known as the double is and reduplicative copula, is the nonstandard usage of two successive copulae in the English language when only one is necessary. For example:

My point is, is that...

This should not be confused with legitimate usages of two successive copulae, such as:

What my point is is that...

In the latter sentence, "What my point is" is a dependent clause, and functions as a subject. In the former sentence, "My point" is a complete subject, and requires only one copula.

The term double is, though commonly used to describe this practice, is somewhat inaccurate, since other forms of the word (such as "was", "were") can be used in the same manner:

The problem being, is that...[1]

According to the third edition of Fowler's Modern English Usage (as revised by Robert Burchfield), the double copula originated around 1971 in the United States and had spread to the United Kingdom by 1987.


  1. ^ Massam, Diane (1999), "Thing is constructions: the thing is, is what’s the right analysis?", English Language and Linguistics (Cambridge University Press) (3.2): 349 

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