Daily Archives:February 3rd, 2002

Pause and repeat

Have you ever noticed how often characters in films say things twice? It’s generally used to end a scene, along the lines of:

Frodo: I’m glad you’re back, Gandalf!

Gandalf: So am I, Frodo Baggins.

[thoughtful pause]
So am I.

[Fade to black]

It’s the modern equivalent of Shakespeare’s rhyming couplets, and it happens all the time. No matter how realistic the movie dialogue in general, people still repeat themselves like this. Try it in real life to make yourself sound more like a movie star.

Actually, of course, you’ll just sound silly. It only works at the end of a scene before the lights go out, so it’s a little trick, perhaps, best saved for your deathbed, to make your last words stick in people’s minds.

Just make sure you don’t misjudge the length of that thoughtful pause.


Splendid! Nottingham City Council has started ‘fining’ its staff for incorrect use of the apostrophe. A marvellous idea.

If only they would do the same thing in schools…

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser