10 Handy-Dandy Reduplications in English

161 - 10 Words a Day: Handy-Dandy Reduplications


Words that are bolded in red are suggested vocabulary words for this episode.


Hello, hello. Welcome back to this week’s new episode. How are you? How is your day so far? What are you doing? Are you out walking? Working out? Commuting to work? Cleaning house? What are you doing? Whatever it is, thank you for letting me accompany you.

I think you should be proud of yourself! I know a lot of English learners who make excuses about not finding time to practice English, and you made the time! You prioritized English during the day, and so congrats!

Today, we have a very fun topic of conversation. Or I guess self-conversation! I’m going to be talking to myself. Um, yeah, it’s going to be about reduplications. We’ll discuss "10 Handy-Dandy Reduplications."

Now I know, 99% of you are saying, what in the world is that? What in the world is a reduplication? Well, I just told you one! Handy dandy. Handy by itself means useful or practical. In American English, you can add dandy for emphasis, intensification and to give it a playful and poetic effect. Handy dandy is a reduplication. We’ll go through some examples in a bit.

In English, you’ll hear reduplications in songs and casual conversation. Many times it involves just repeating the first word and changing one syllable, consonant, or vowel, like handy dandy, flip flop, or chit chat. Sometimes you’ll hear the exact same word repeated, like boo-boo or yo-yo. Sometimes they rhyme—not always—but there’s always a rhythmic sensation to them, and I think that’s why they’re pretty memorable!

So if you want to add some spice and flavor to the way you speak in English, keep listening. And stay tuned until the very end, I have a major tip that is going to help most of you when making comparisons in English.


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We’re going to start with rhyming reduplications. These are so playful, so a lot of times you’re going to need to have a playful delivery as well.

Number 1: Handy dandy. So handy dandy, as I mentioned before, means extremely useful or practical. I would use handy dandy to describe tools, kitchen appliances or gadgets. Anything that helps you solve a problem.

Imagine you need to translate a word from your language into English. You might have a handy-dandy app on your phone that can help you do that quickly.

My mom has about 1,000 gadgets in her kitchen drawers, and all of them could be described as handy dandy.

Where do I begin?

So she has a gadget to get pickles or olives out of a jar; it has a long claw so that you don’t get your fingers dirty, and she gets so excited about it.

"Oh, you want pickles? Let me grab you my handy-dandy pickle poker!"

"Oh, you don’t like peels on your apples? Let me get you my handy-dandy apple peeler."

"Let me get my handy-dandy milk frother to make the milk on your coffee foamy."

Now, obviously it’s not necessary to say handy dandy in these circumstances. As you can probably tell, it’s a little goofy and 100% playful.

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