Today I'm combining four separate instances of "writing gone wrong" into one post. I came across these four over the span of two weeks, and they all share the same DNA, so I figured they should stick together on the same strand of double helix.
What does this quartet have in common? Well, each member of our unfortunate foursome erroneously repeats a small word. We've seen instances of this before here, here, here and here, and we'll see more in the future. Why? More specifically, why do we double up on wee words such as in and the but rarely type larger words back to back? In the sentence, "I noticed the ambulance driver was smoking a cigarette," it wouldn't shock me to see an extra the or was, but I'd be quite surprised to see ambulance or cigarette repeated. Is it simply a matter of character length? Perhaps word placement comes into play. I haven't delved deep enough into this mystery to formulate a theory. I do know one thing: In situations such as these, it's not OK to repeat a word, big or small. Let me repeat. In situations such as these, it's not OK to repeat a word, big or small.