4

I am writing a letter, I want to mention a thing by using double adverbs.
For instance,

it is really really cool, it is very very nice.

Something Like that,
is it the formal writing or not?

  • 7
    I would avoid it in formal writing. I'd also avoid 'cool'. – gone fishin' again. May 16 '15 at 9:13
5

From Fox Kilmeade

If you have a cloud over Europe that extends across the Atlantic throughout the summer, that is going to be very very bad news for the president.

From USA Today (though a speech)

Very early on we made spoons out of agate, very very thin and very delicate; they were Russian silver spoons where we altered some of the design to give them more shape, but they were very nice because the agate was exceptional and we made a series of those

And many more results from COCA say that it's okay. However, I think it depends on the writer's style.


Another style that I came across is worth noting. Using a 'comma' between two very's. One such instance is from the NY Times.

But it's important to understand that 0.6 percent is still a very, very low rate by any historical standard.


In your question, you are using 'very very cool' or 'very very nice' -it seems you are writing to someone in an informal way. in this context, I'm pretty sure that you can go for it! But hey, don't exceed 'two'!

  • 3
    That 2nd example is a bit painful, 5 verys in one sentence! Looks like it was written by a child with limited vocabulary. I was always told at school, that if I couldn't think of a better word than 'nice', I needed to be writing about something else; 'very nice' would have had me at the front of the class explaining why ;) The first example is acceptable, for emphasis, but I'd still mark it "could try harder" ;-) – gone fishin' again. May 16 '15 at 10:34
  • @Tetsujin: I'd say it's 100% certain Maulik's example #2 is (relatively informal) speech. Even a halfway competent writer would almost certainly realise how awkward/ungainly very very thin and very delicate is phrased. There are a couple of obvious ways to "fix" it, depending on the exact nuance of meaning intended. 1: Delete the third very (and in speech, minimise inter-word gaps in thin and delicate, so the initial repeated very very applies to both attributes). 2: Resequence to very delicate and very very thin so the last quality mentioned gets the emphatic repetition. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica May 16 '15 at 12:23
  • @FumbleFingers yes, you are right. Mentioned! But do you suggest replacing it with some other example? – Maulik V May 16 '15 at 12:30
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    Have an upvote, Maulik! I think it's important on ELL that we should keep reminding questioners about the different standards normally considered applicable to speech as opposed to writing. Particularly, formal writing, which OP specifically mentioned here. Your newly-added final example is also good, because it shows how the repetitive format (including that all-important comma) can reasonably be used in (relatively) formal writing. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica May 16 '15 at 13:06

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