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もう一度やり直した

In this sentence, what is the minimum number of times やる was done, two or three times? At first, I thought it was three times because もう一度 means to do something again, and if you were to do the action of repeating again, that would imply you have done the action at least twice because the act of repeating requires you to have done it at least once. So it would go:

やる やり直す もう一度やり直す

and もう一度やり直す would require doing something three times. However, I have seen a lot of sentences where もう一度やり直す or something similar to that mean to do something a second time, not a third or higher amount of times. For example,

我々は一度その家にペンキを塗って、またそれを繰り返した。

私は電話を切って、もう一度彼女にかけなおした。

How does this work? If もう一度やり直す means to do やり直す again, that would imply you did the action of やり直す in the past before, which further implies that you did the action of やる even farther in the past, which would mean もう一度やり直した would require doing an action a minimum of three times. However, many sentences imply もう一度やり直す as only doing やる a second time, and I am confused on why this is the case.

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Think of 「もう一度」「また」「再度」 as the word “again”.

Consider the redundancies of:

Let's start over again.

Could you repeat that again?

I'll call you back again.

In most situations, people are not confused by the repetition counts in these sentences.

Yes, 「もう一度やり直す」「また繰り返す」 are redundant phrases when meaning a rep count of 2, and an astute proofreader will edit them down. But it happens all the time, so try not to overthink it. Assume the rep count is 2, unless there is reason to suspect otherwise.

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  • To add to this answer, もう一度やり直す is potentially an endless cycle that doesn't count the amount of times something could be down. もう二度やり直す would seem odd that you would edit something twice just because. There are times where limited counts are used もう二度と彼を会いたくない (I don't want to meet him a second time), but it would be odd to use more than twice in this instance too. However, even after re-writing the report 25 times you boss could still say もう一度やり直す regardless of how many times he has said it previously. – The Wandering Coder Sep 14 '15 at 5:35

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