How to Deal With Repeated Subjects or Topics in a Sentence

It is often noted that English is the hardest of all of the languages to learn.

Taking into consideration that many of the words used in English are actually adaptations of Latin or Ancient Greek words – similar to many other European languages – why is it that English is so very difficult?

English is just so complicated, when you think about it, it really makes no sense. The English language is filled with contradictions. There are a seemingly infinite number of conundrums. Think about it, we call a hamburger and hamburger, yet it has no actual ham. And, if teachers teach, then why didn’t preacher praught? Is there pine in a pineapple?

People who grow up speaking English from birth seldom stop to think about how illogical some of the things they say truly are – they have just become so accustomed to saying things the way they have always been said.

One of the things that people struggle with, whether they are native born English speakers or English as a Second Language speakers, it what to do in the case of double subjects or topics, or rather how to prevent this grammatical catastrophe.

What Are Repeated Subjects or Topics?

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language refers to the use of double subjects in a sentence as left dislocation.

Left dislocation is a type of sentence structure in which a constituent, which could be either an argument or an adjunct of the clause, happens outside of the boundaries of the clause to either the left or the right.

Example: They went to school, Jim and Steve.

The dislocation is often separated from the rest of the sentence by a comma. Its places inside the clause will be most typically occupied by a pronoun.

There are times when this type of sentence might come in handy, especially if you are trying to achieve a more informal tone. However, it has absolutely no place in formal writing.

Instances of Repetition in a Sentence

Consider the following sentence: My school it is very large.

Is the structure of the sentence above correct?

It is a pronoun, and in the case of the example, it refers to my school. It is not necessary to use both my school and it in the same sentence. This is a common mistake that teachers see their students doing – repeating the subject of a sentence.

If we were to write this sentence in the correct structure, it would read: My school is very large.

Here are some other examples of repetition in a sentence when writing subjects twice.

X My mom she is a teacher

  • My mom is a teacher

X Where is the new bike that you bought it

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  • Where is the new bike you bought

X The ocean we visited them were breath taking

  • The ocean we visited was break taking

When we speak, it is not necessary (or rather not grammatically proper) to repeat the subject with a pronoun.

Remember that a verb can only have a single subject.

Knowing that English is a complicated language, is it ever okay to repeat a subject in the same sentence?

Yes, of course.

It is okay to repeat a subject when there is two clauses.

Example: I don’t know why I brought my helmet, but I will wear it anyways.

A Few Examples of Repetition

Read the sentence below and try to figure out what is wrong with it.

“The dog it’s very mean.”

The issue here is that the verb IS has two subjects: The DOG and the pronoun IT. As mentioned, a verb can only have a single subject. The proper version of this sentence is as follows:

The dog is very mean.

Most often, if someone is going to struggle with this type of error, It will be made with other pronouns – like he, she, they, etc.

Example: The man he is very old

The corrected version would read: The man is very old.