I'm tall, and so's my wife.

I looking for some way of understanding this kind of and so construction. Is it equivalent to the following?

I'm tall, and tall is my wife.

You could say, alternatively:

I'm tall, and my wife is tall.
I'm tall, and my wife is also.
I'm tall, and also my wife is. (maybe???)

So why is the 'is' moved before 'my wife" with the and so construction?

  • 1
    +1, I thought I had understood this, but now I'm looking at "Tom would be tall, and so would be his wife" . . . hmm . . . :)
    – F.E.
    Jul 8, 2015 at 2:07
  • 1
    I'm tall, and my wife is so too. Don't ask me why you have to explicitly include too in that version (whereas the so = also, additionally sense seems to be carried along with so = that [same] way in the "standard" form). You might want to check this link for more on the usage. Jul 8, 2015 at 2:08
  • 5
    I'm Brian, and so's my wife!
    – Andrew
    Jul 8, 2015 at 3:29
  • 2
    Sorry, @Andrew, the name's taken, and so am I. Jul 8, 2015 at 11:43
  • 1
    In the example "Tom is tall, and so is Sue" (similar in grammar to the OP's example), the "so" would be considered to be the connective adjunct version of "so"; and also, that due to following the connective "so", that subject-auxiliary inversion is obligatory (according to H&P CGEL, pages 786-7). As to why this must be so, er, er, maybe that would be related to helping the hearer differentiate the different types of constructions that use different types of "so"? maybe. Perhaps someone might have a rainy day to dip their toe into this tricky, and possibly lengthy, subject. :)
    – F.E.
    Jul 8, 2015 at 20:17

1 Answer 1


In the construction "I'm tall, and so's my wife," so is an anaphor; so refers back to tall. The construction is equivalent to, "I'm tall, and [tall] is my wife."

In linguistics, anaphora is the use of an expression the interpretation of which depends upon another expression in context (its antecedent or postcedent) ... The term anaphora denotes the act of referring, whereas the word that actually does the referring is sometimes called an anaphor (or cataphor).

Anaphora (endophora)

a. Susan dropped the plate. It shattered loudly. - The pronoun it is an anaphor; it points to the left toward its antecedent, the plate

b. The music stopped, and that upset everyone. - The demonstrative pronoun that is an anaphor; it points to the left toward its antecedent, The music stopped.

c. Fred was angry, and so was I. - The adverb so is an anaphor; it points to the left toward its antecedent, angry.

d. If Sam buys a new bike, I will do it as well. - The verb phrase do it is anaphor; it points to the left toward its antecedent, buys a new bike.

Wikipedia, anaphora

Thank you, Janus Bahs Jacquet

  • 1
    So that's what an anaphor's for
    – Avon
    Jul 9, 2015 at 19:38
  • To add a tiny bit to explain the inversion: the anaphor so used in this way is usually pre-posed (put before the verb), I expect to draw attention to it, and such pre-position tends to force the subject to be post-posed. So says english.stackexchange.com/a/315103 . Feb 20, 2018 at 23:01

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