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Repeated for Emphasis

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"I repeat things for emphasis. Emphasis!"
Josh, Drake & Josh

During a dialogue or monologue, one speaker's line has a single word repeated for dramatic effect, either by the same person (to emphasize his point) or by the other (to undermine said point).

Compare Department of Redundancy Department, where an item is listed repeatedly for comic effect, Parrot Exposition, where multiple characters utter the same word or phrase for similar reasons, and Ironic Echo, for the entire sentence. See also One-Liner, Name... One-Liner.


Not to be confused with Punctuated! For! Emphasis!


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  • Pacific Rim has Hannibal Chau say "I went into a public shelter once." He then takes off his shades, revealing a very nasty scar. "Once."
  • Cinderella has one where the stepmother tells Cinderella that she can go to the ball if she finishes the housework. The stepsisters are furious until she says "I said if".
  • A Running Gag with Danny Vermin's character in Johnny Dangerously. (also subverted by not letting him get out the final word.)
    Vermin: You shouldn't grab me, Johnny. My mother grabbed me once... Once.
    Vermin: You shouldn't hang me on a hook, Johnny. My father hung me on a hook once. Once.
    Vermin: You shouldn't kick me in the balls, Mrs. Kelly. My sister kicked me in the balls once... (pained noise)
    Vermin: You shouldn't have shot me, Johnny. My grandmother shot me once... (gets pulled away by the cops before he can finish)
  • Undercover Brother. While the title character and Sista Girl are talking, he uses one of these while trying to seduce her.
    Undercover Brother: Nothing relaxes a brother after a hard day of going undercover like a little piece of the cookie.
    Sista Girl: My cookie would break you in half.
    Undercover Brother: May be, but that would be some long division. [Aside Glance] Long.
  • "First rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club. Second rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club.

  • Isaac Asimov's "The Secret Sense": As Fields leaves the portwem, Garth calls out to rub in the Sense Loss Sadness Fields is feeling by emphasizing Fields feels blind now.
    "You entered a normal man! You leave blind—blind-BLIND."

     Live-Action TV  
  • One sketch insideEl Chapulín Colorado had a man recounting how he was discussing with his son about waiting for marriage. And he kept repeating several words twice to emphasize how heated the conversation was. But he then said at the end he decided to give up, since he doesn't like to just repeat everything.
  • Josh from Drake & Josh does this regularly as something of a Verbal Tic.
  • The Sixth Doctor in Doctor Who has a habit of repeating something someone else (usually Peri) said in increasingly dramatic and questioning tones, to demonstrate his disdain for it.
  • Mahabharata: People tend to do this a lot in the television adaptation of the epic. A lot

     Tabletop Games  
  • Warhammer 40,000 has a dialogue where an Eldar talks down to a human, telling him that they (the Eldar) once had the power to move the stars themselves however it pleased them. The human replies, "Once."

     Web Videos 

     Real Life  
  • Legend has it that when Philip II sent the message "If I enter Laconia, I will raze Sparta", the Spartans sent a one-word reply: "If". Philip left them alone.


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