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A good attitude, that's what counts.

At first I saw this and thought comma splice; but that can't be because a splice requires two clauses.

In this sentence "a good attitude" is in apposition to the pronoun "that;" that's why this sentence is grammatically correct? (if I'd divided these two clauses by a comma then I'd be splicing with a comma.)

  • This is called "Left-Dislocation", and moves the subject to the beginning of the sentence, in a constituent of its own, followed by the rest of the sentence, but with a coreferential pronoun subject. "Right-Dislocation" works in the other direction, often with different intonation, and thus punctuation: That's what counts -- a good attitude. Both are transformations of What counts is a good attitude. Which is itself a pseudo-cleft transformation of A good attitude counts. See how sentences swell up? – John Lawler Mar 4 '15 at 0:31
  • Hey, @JohnLawler is there a good web site for the technical terms you refer to in questions like this? Maybe a linguistics wiki? – Barmar Mar 4 '15 at 17:45
  • Here's a list of the top 200-plus English transformations, with examples. – John Lawler Mar 4 '15 at 19:24
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As John Lawler states in the comments:

This is called "Left-Dislocation", and moves the subject to the beginning of the sentence, in a constituent of its own, followed by the rest of the sentence, but with a coreferential pronoun subject. "Right-Dislocation" works in the other direction, often with different intonation, and thus punctuation: That's what counts -- a good attitude. Both are transformations of What counts is a good attitude. Which is itself a pseudo-cleft transformation of A good attitude counts. See how sentences swell up?

Here's a list of the top 200-plus English transformations, with examples.

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