Repeating a word or phrase can have positive advantages, alongside the negative virtue of averting confusion. ItÂ can serve to emphasise ideas and drive a point home, and to link two separate ideas by signposting their similarity or contrast. And it can produce a number of rhetorical effects as well â€“Such asÂ humour, persuasiveness, or a sense of nostalgia. Many sentences derive their force from skilful repetition of a key word, such as special in the following example:
The special effects are stunning, but they are the only thing special about the film.
In the followingÂ extract, from an article on the fate of soccer in the U.S., the writer uses repetition very effectively to convey his amused frustration and mock-urgency-noteÂ specifically the repetitionÂ of
Well-mannered and the chant-like refrain of we needâ€¦
The American players, for example, were describedin the pressÂ as well-mannered.
How can you get the ink necessary for success in sports by being well-mannered?
We need heated arguments on the field between participants and officials, like in baseballâ€¦
We need blood, like in hockeyâ€¦
We need bruising collisions, like in [American] football, and a proper amount of concussions per game.
-Ira BerkowÂ (U.S.), The New York Times
Finally, two passages â€“one from fiction, one from non-fiction-in which the writer chooses each time to repeat a personâ€™sÂ name rather than always using the expected pronouns he and him.
Mr Kelada was chatty. He talked of New York and of San Franciscoâ€¦ Mr Kelada was familiar. I do not wish to put on airs, but I cannot help feeling that it is seemly in a total stranger to put mister before my name when the addresses me. Mr Kelada, doubtlessÂ to set me at my ease, used no such formality.
I did not like Mr Kelada,
-Somerset Maugham, â€˜Mr Know-Allâ€™
In April 1982, Greek-born DimitrisÂ SgourosÂ walked on to the platform of Carnegie Hall, New York and made his American debut playing Rachmaninoffâ€™s awesome 3rd piano Concerto,a massive work which stands at the peak of the romantic virtuoso tradition.
Sgouros totally dominated its technicalÂ demands . Sgouros was twelve years old.
-Robin Ray, â€˜Infant Prodigiesâ€™,
Theatre programme note.
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