Over the last couple of years, I’ve noticed coworkers routinely saying this: “The problem is is that…” There is a slight pause between the two is’s. It’s as if “is that” is its own phrase that introduces the next thought.
I can’t be sure if it’s a regionalism but these coworkers are Northeasterners.
Anyone else hearing this?
I recall that thread Rafee mentions, but couldn’t find it either. There’s some weird constraints on the search function in this forum. It ignores words less than four characters long (like “is”). However, I can comment on Laurie’s original question.
The example she provides is clearly sloppy writing/speaking. More to the point would be “The problem is that …”
But there are some situations where two “is” in a row works just fine, even though it doesn’t sound quite right until you parse it out. I’ve heard Obama do that in some of his speeches. For example: “In my mind, the main question is, is global warning really happening?”
The second “is” is part of a separate clause, so it’s perfectly acceptable. It works in the sentence I just typed too, where the first “is” is referring to a word as a word, and the second “is” is used as a verb. Hey … it works in that sentence too! :)
Here is the link to the previous thread on this subject.
This would certainly be sloppy writing, but I feel that if someone speaking used this as a way to gather his thoughts, I would easily forgive it. People have done other things that are far more distracting.
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