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I have a tendency to place the phrase I suppose at the end of a sentence. It sounds alright to me. But when I want to write the expression down in words, how should I write it so that I won't violate the syntax of English?

This is a question regarding punctuation, I suppose.

This is a question regarding punctuation I suppose.

This is a question regarding punctuation. I suppose.

This is a question regarding punctuation, I suppose.

Or is placing the phrase I suppose at the end of a sentence considered a bad habit? Sometimes I do the same to phrases like I assume, I believe, I guess too.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

This is a question regarding punctuation, I suppose.
The comma clarifies the meaning.
I would avoid using the italics: it comes across as absurdly sarcastic.
And yes, it's probably a bad habit.

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If you do it now and then, it can serve to highlight that this particular statement is tentative. If you do it all the time, it becomes annoying clutter in your writing. –  Jay Jan 9 '13 at 17:08
    
@Jay. Yes, I agree. –  MikeM Jan 9 '13 at 17:09
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Tagged I suppose is purely a phenomenon of speech, where it's a common pragmatic mitigating afterthought, virtually always pronounced /ayspoz/, with a distinctive falling intonation and enclitic liaison with the preceding morpheme. This is the same syncopated "spos", by the way, that appears in the eye spelling "sposta" for (be) supposed to as well as "I spose".

So, since it's speech and not formal writing, you can punctuate it any way you please, because there is no formal rule for how it should be punctuated. Simply try to represent the intonation as well as you can using the Rube Goldberg device of English pronunciation, trying to draw as little attention to the punctuation as you can, and then go on to something else that can be done well.

Some people like extra print sentence punctuation for emphasis. And separation. Like this.

Executive Summary: Just like your handwriting is up to you as long as it's legible, how you represent your speech is up to you, as long as it's understandable.

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I suppose may be found in speech more often than writing, but the Corpus of Contemporary American English has 135 records of I suppose preceded by a comma in academic prose alone. Even when it occurs at the end of a sentence, it remains an interruption: it can be removed and leave the rest of the sentence intact. The comma is needed to show that this is so. Its absence leads the reader to expect the sentence to continue.

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