English Lesson: New Vs. Brand New

In a recent online English lesson, my client and I were talking about cars. She hesitated in explaining that a car wasn’t “new, new”.

Was it okay for her to use this description? Yes and no.

As always, the answers to any language question will depend on the context and purpose. If you asked a teacher, the academic answer would advise you to make a more descriptive vocabulary choice. But in conversational speaking? We use this method of repetition all the time.

We can say something is “old, old” to emphasize how old it is. Most English learners will probably be more familiar with including “really” or “very” before the adjective. The resulting effect is the same. The point being: don’t be shocked if you hear a native speaker use this style of repetition even though your English teacher said it’s “incorrect”.

In the case of “new, new”, if you do want to make a more deliberate vocabulary selection, all you have to do is use “brand new”. You’ll often hear this from an announcer on game shows:

  • brand new dining set!
  • brand new washer and dryer!
  • brand new car!

Otherwise, if my friend tells me she got a new car, I would have to follow up and ask her: do you mean new, new or a used car?


If you’re interested in learning more conversational English like this, connect with Jon to sign up for private English coaching. We’ll work on making you sound like a native speaker.


Published by Jon Dao

Formerly, the Conversation Coach

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