Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Examples:

  • It's cold, I know.

  • She's awesome, I know.

Are these comma splices? If not, what is the name of the I know clause?

Is there a name for the whole structure?

share|improve this question
    
It's just a stylistic variation on the more normal sequence "I know it's cold". It's definitely not a "comma splice", which basically means trying to use a comma instead of a full stop to separate two sentences. –  FumbleFingers Sep 6 '12 at 16:53

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

When you invert the normal order of the sentence

I know it's cold.

you need a comma to make the sense clear:

It's cold, I know.

So while these appear to be two independent clauses, the first is actually a relative clause with an omitted that. Here is how the sentence would read if we were to put the that back in.

I know that it's cold.

And if we were to invert that, we would have

That it's cold, I know.

But that sounds a little stilted to the modern ear, so we just say

It's cold, I know.

share|improve this answer
    
Excellent! Thanks very much :) –  rachel Sep 6 '12 at 16:56
1  
+1 Incidentally, the inversion does shift the emphasis from "it's cold" to "I know". –  Kris Sep 7 '12 at 7:03

In those examples, I know is a ‘tail’, a feature of speech which reinforces what is being said.

share|improve this answer
    
+1 You have put it better, what I was trying to express in my comment above. –  Kris Sep 7 '12 at 7:04
    
@Kris: It's a term used in functional grammar, along with 'head' for a similar feature at the start of an utterance. –  Barrie England Sep 7 '12 at 7:06

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.