I came across the following sentence in an American novel:

"Hey, sugar," he says. "I'm just here to help you is all."

I take it that the sentence means, "I'm just here to help you and that's all."

It is there something missing in the sentence or is this correct grammar?


You answered your own question. It is equivalent to :

"I'm just here to help you. That's all."

It is a common way of speaking in some parts. But I've never seen it being written that way. You won't find any book saying 'He was just there to help her was all'

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  • But "He was just there to help her, is all" is normal. The , is all is a fixed sentence suffix, meant to diminish the importance of the preceding clause. Whether people who say this actually relate it to "That's all" is an open question; certainly some do, but others don't. – John Lawler Jun 18 '14 at 4:08
  • The point I'm trying to make is that's something one would say, not one would write. That's why I used the passive voice which is not found in books/novels. – Tushar Raj Jun 18 '14 at 4:10
  • @Tushar: the quote in question is from a line of dialogue. It's certainly something one would write in that context, as it's meant to catch the way the character talks. – Martin McCallion Jun 18 '14 at 10:33

"Hey, sugar," he says. "I'm just here to help you is all."

The dialogue is just a typical use of narrative license

Artistic license (also known as dramatic license, historical license, poetic license, narrative license, licentia poetica, or simply license) is a colloquial term, sometimes euphemism, used to denote the distortion of fact, alteration of the conventions of grammar or language, or rewording of pre-existing text made by an artist to improve a piece of art.

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  • This doesn't address the concerns the OP is having. – Matt E. Эллен Jun 28 '14 at 8:00
  • @MattЭллен yes I answer the OP's question but perhaps it was too subtle? "It is there something missing in the sentence or is this correct grammar?" The answer is not as simple as pointing out a provincial dialect because in the context of a novel, a narrative license trumps "correct". – Third News Jun 28 '14 at 10:34
  • Pointing out that the extract uses "narrative license" does not help the OP. That is not what they want to know. This is tangential to the problem. – Matt E. Эллен Jun 28 '14 at 11:19

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