Welcome to your GrammarBook.com e-newsletter.
I love your GrammarBook.com website. It is simple, straight to the point, and has helped me become aware of things I didn’t know that I didn’t know.
Word is spreading about how great The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation is and the things you have available on GrammarBook.com.
Your e-newsletters have helped me a lot in writing my reports.
What Is-Is Is, Is Exasperating
Leave it to academia to invent lofty labels for obnoxious habits.
You might not know the term nonstandard reduplicative copula, but you probably know what it refers to, and chances are it drives you crazy. We
call it “the is-is hiccup”: the addition of a redundant second is in sentences like The truth is is that the two sides are divided or The fact of the matter is is that they want to disrupt our elections or this beauty we heard last week: The big issue now moving forward is is that rates are rising.
You probably know someone who says “is is,” and there is no avoiding it when your radio or television is on. The airwaves are teeming with
commentators afflicted with the is-is hiccup. It’s one of life’s mysteries—even to those who say it.
We doubt you will ever find the is-is hiccup in print, however. Spoken sentences are one thing, but no competent writer or editor who sees it
written out will fail to expunge the is-is hiccup on sight.
As this turn of phrase has spread, it has developed exotic variations, many of which are inspired nonsense: What I meant was is … The cruel facts are is … But the difficulty then becomes is …
These are seriously silly constructions, but those who say them are not necessarily fools or charlatans. Often these are statements made by sophisticated
and qualified spokespersons. “It’s worth noting that this construction, though stigmatized, is widely used by highly educated people,”
says one online grammarian. “I have a valued colleague who can be counted on to use it several times per lecture.”
So how did it come to this?
Examples of legitimate double-is abound in our culture, high and low. The distinguished author G.K. Chesterton used one when he wrote, “What
the thing is, is not cowardly, but profoundly and detestably wicked.” And a comedian from North Carolina named Andy Griffith once made America laugh
with “What It Was, Was Football,” his monologue about college football from a country boy’s perspective.
Those uses of the double-is are clearly correct. And sentences we hear and read all the time would be meaningless with an is left out.
Try removing an is from these sentences:
• How important this is is hard to say.
The question is, is this OK?
• What the point is, is this.
Perhaps the is-is hiccup can be traced to sentences like those three. It’s easy to see how, in an animated conversation, someone who means What the point is, is this might instead say, “The point is is this.”
Could it be that careful speakers, not wanting to leave out a necessary word, got into this bad habit, and it spread across the culture and took on a crazy
life of its own? Maybe the is-is hiccup is an object lesson in how linguistic absurdities result from trying too conscientiously to avoid them.
Because of the e-newsletter’s large readership, please submit your English usage questions through GrammarBook.com’s “Grammar Blog.”
Free BONUS Quiz for You!
We are pleased to announce that we have added even more quizzes to help you challenge yourself, your students, and your staff. We added quizzes to existing categories and created some new categories such as “Confusing Verbs,” “Subjunctive Mood,” “Comprise,” “Sit vs. Set vs. Sat,” and “Spelling.”
[[firstname]], because you are a subscriber to the newsletter, you get access to one of the Subscribers-Only Quizzes. Click here to take a Subjunctive Mood Quiz and get your scores and explanations instantly!
More Good News for Quiz Subscribers
We reviewed and strengthened every quiz on our website to ensure consistency with the rules and guidelines contained in our eleventh edition of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation.
If you think you have found an error in a quiz, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“So convenient … hundreds of quizzes in one click.”
[[firstname]], Subscribe to receive hundreds of English usage quizzes not found anywhere else!
- Take the quizzes online or download and copy them.
- Get scored instantly.
- Find explanations for every quiz answer.
- Reproduce the quizzes to your heart’s content.
- EASY to use.
- No software to download.
- No setup time.
- A real person to help you if you have any questions!
Instructors and Employers: we make your life easier!
- Assign quizzes to your students or employees.
- Students log in from anywhere.
- Scores are tallied and compiled for you.
- You decide whether to let students see their own scores and quiz explanations.
- Let GrammarBook.com take the hassle out of teaching English!
“Fun to test my skills!”
“The explanations really help … thanks!”
Your choice: Subscribe at the $29.95 or $99.95 level ($30 off - previously $129.95).
“I download the quizzes for my students who don’t have computer access.”
Subscribe today to receive hundreds of English usage quizzes not found anywhere else!
“Makes learning English FUN!”
Don’t need all the quizzes at once?
You can now purchase the same quizzes individually for ONLY 99¢ each. Purchase yours here.
Get Yours Today!
Get Amazon’s No. 1 Best-seller in Four Categories!
No. 1 in Grammar
No. 1 in Reading
No. 1 in Lesson Planning
No. 1 in Vocabulary
The Blue Book of Grammar
by Jane Straus, Lester Kaufman, and Tom Stern
The Authority on English Grammar!
Eleventh Edition Now Available
Have You Ordered Your Copy Yet?
An indispensable tool for busy professionals, teachers, students, homeschool families, editors, writers, and proofreaders.
Available in print AND as an e-Book! Over 2,000 copies are purchased every month!
Order Your Copy Today!
- Hundreds of Grammar, Punctuation, Capitalization, and Usage Rules
- Real-World Examples
- Spelling / Vocabulary / Confusing Words
- Quizzes with Answers
If you live in the United States or Canada, order The Blue Book through Wiley.com and get 30 percent off and FREE shipping! Simply go to bit.ly/1996hkA and use discount code E9X4AYY.*
For those of you who live outside the U.S. and Canada, although the publisher is not able to offer free shipping, you will get 35 percent off to help offset your shipping costs. Simply go to bit.ly/1996hkA and use discount code E9X4A.*
*Offer expires December 31, 2016.
With thanks to cartoonist Kopf
Learn all about who and whom, affect and effect, subjects and verbs, adjectives and adverbs, commas, semicolons, quotation marks, and much more by just sitting back and enjoying these easy-to-follow lessons. Tell your colleagues (and boss), children, teachers, and friends. Click here to watch.