the problem is is that...

Lynne Murphy lynnem at COGS.SUSX.AC.UK
Mon Dec 17 17:55:34 UTC 2001

There was a discussion on this list a while back about is-is, and I just
came across the following in an essay I'm marking.  So I send it on in case
anyone's collecting these:

(2nd year linguistics undergrad, conclusion sentence for aphasiology essay)
However, the problem is, is that this is all [that] is shown since
neuro-linguistics is still a long way off from being able to identify
exactly how syntax is encoded or how a word is represented.

Does this get the prize for the most 'is's in a sentence?  Obviously, this
is not a student who's a careful editor/proofreader (note the missing
'that'), but the comma after the first 'is' makes 'the problem is is that'
look fairly deliberate.

Off to the States for Christmas...see some of you at the LSA.


Dr M Lynne Murphy
Lecturer in Linguistics
Acting Director, MA in Applied Linguistics
School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QH

phone +44-(0)1273-678844
fax   +44-(0)1273-671320

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