The police questioned the men over and over again.

‘over and over’ is meaning ‘repeatedly’, and ‘again’ is meaning ‘repeatedly’ too. So ‘over and over again’ is a little weird, I feel.


"Again" does not mean repeatedly - it means that something has been repeated once.


I am going to London again.

This doesn't mean that you are repeatedly going to London - just that you are going, and you have been before, at least once.

"Over and over again" idiomatically means repeatedly. We also sometimes say "again and again" to mean repeatedly.

Your sentence intends to show that the man was questioned repeatedly, and the word "again" alone would not show that.

The police questioned the men again.

This would simply mean that they questioned them a second time.

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  • But should ‘repeatedly’ cover ‘repeated once’? – Y. zeng Apr 18 '19 at 8:17
  • No. "Repeated" means something is done again, once. "Repeatedly" is an adverb that denotes something ongoing. In fact the Oxford dictionary definition of "repeatedly" is "over and over again; constantly" if you needed proof that "over and over again" is an English idiom. – Astralbee Apr 18 '19 at 8:19
  • I know now. It is very clear – Y. zeng Apr 18 '19 at 8:23
  • Redundancy is often used where emphasis or vividness of description is desired. I spun round and round and round, over and over and over again, until I was nearly sick. – Michael Harvey Apr 18 '19 at 8:42
  • over and over with or without again means repeatedly. – Lambie Jul 9 '19 at 13:11

In "over and over again", "again" is related to the second "over".

Without being totally (grammatically) correct, the expression can be understood as:

  1. He did X.
  2. He did X and (even) over.
  3. He did X and over and again over.
  4. He did X and over and again over.

In the second "step", over can mean "more", or "again".

In the third "step", you can already spot the "over and over again" (highlighted in "step" 4), with the order of words changed.

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  • 2. is not really right.... – Lambie Jul 9 '19 at 13:02

The police questioned me over and over

This usually means they constantly asked the same set of questions during an interview/interrogation session

Adding again means that they did the same thing on a subsequent occasion (could be 2nd/3rd/4th/etc)

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