Exercise 1: Read the sentences below and then
match them with the correct explanations of the reduplicative expressions in them. An answer key is provided at the bottom
of the explanations, but you are strongly advised to work out the whole exercise and, if need be, use a dictionary before
checking your answers.
1. Stella is such a
goody-goody, always trying to impress the boss with her ideas.
2. Come on, kids! Time
to have din-din.
3. The policeman was
talking to HQ on his walkie-talkie.
4. While we were hoping
for a moment of solitude, the bell went ding-dong.
5. My dad bought me
a bow-wow for my birthday present.
6. One of the employees
was sacked yesterday for coming to work wearing flip-flops.
7. Ping-pong was a
popular indoor game early last century.
8. Don't dillydally
– just get your things and let's go.
9. They're neither
right-wing nor left – just a bunch of wishy-washy pseudo-liberals.
10. Just a teeny weeny
slice of cake for me, please.
11. I try and keep
in tip-top shape by exercising every day.
12. We got tired of
the hurly-burly of city life, so we moved to the country.
13. We went for a ride
on a choo-choo.
14. I'm scared of gee-gees.
I'll never ride one.
15. His long prison
sentence made him a ding-a-ling, and he continued to behave eccentrically till well after his release.
16. So much of what
the manager says is just hocus-pocus.
17. Oliver struck it
rich not through honest competition in business, but through jiggery-pokery.
18. There was a bit
of hanky-panky going on at the party.
19. They think I'm
a fuddy-duddy because I don't approve of tattoos.
20. We shouldn't believe
this. It's only hubba-hubba.
21. Jim was totally
drunk and was wibbly-wobbly.
22. The Middle Eastern
hubbly-bubbly scented the air with a fresh odour of apple.
23. Let's get down
to the nitty-gritty – when can you finish the building and how much will it cost?
24. Okey-dokey! I'll
tag along with you if you wish.
25. Stop shilly-shallying
and make a decision now!
26. It was a mission
which had to be imposed willy-nilly.
27. The shelves were
covered with ornaments and useless knick-knacks.
28. The government's
topsy-turvy priorities mean that spending on education remains low.
Explanations (at random):
1. a child's word for
2. a child's word for
3. a child's word for
4. a child's word for
5. a small decorative
object, esp. in a house
7. the realities or
basic facts of a situation, subject, etc
8. a state of utter
9. showing great unsteadiness
10. underhand dealing;
questionable behaviour, esp. surreptitious or illicit sexual behaviour
11. someone who behaves
in a way intended to please people in authority
12. an informal expression
13. feeble in quality
or character; indecisive
14. to hesitate
15. to waste time,
esp. by being slow or by not being able to make a decision
16. a type of open
shoe, often made of rubber, with a V-shaped strap that goes between the big toe and the toe next to it
17. willingly or unwillingly
18. an old-fashioned
expression for table tennis
19. a person who acts
strangely, originally as a result of long imprisonment
20. a hookah
21. noisy activity
22. a small portable
radio transmitter and receiver that can be used for two-way communication while the user is walking
23. words used to hide
what is happening or to make it unclear
24. an old-fashioned
25. deceitful or dishonest
26. the sound of a
28. very small
How many reduplicative expressions can you think of in your own language?