Usually sentences with "I wonder" are of the following form:

I wonder why _______.

But what about this?

Why is it that _______ I wonder.

It seems relatively unnatural. Why is that? Is it grammatically correct?

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    I think you'd be fine with "Why is it that {etc}, I wonder." Note the comma, which makes the "I wonder" more like an afterthought. – Kit Z. Fox Jun 6 '11 at 11:46
  • @Kit: Oh so I was right about the comma :D I usually do it by heart, so I wasn't sure there was a rule, but I was pretty much sure of it... – Alenanno Jun 6 '11 at 11:53
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    Lyrics from "The Sound of Music": What would this day be like, I wonder. What will my future be, I wonder. – JoseK Jun 6 '11 at 12:28

Yes you can, there's no rule against it. Usually it's preceded by a comma:

Why is it that [...], I wonder.

or like this example taken from here, after direct speech:

What should I do now?’ she wondered.

  • I'd never thought of this device in terms of speech tags before! Thank you. – user1579 Jun 6 '11 at 12:52
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    The pattern "<question>, I wonder" is very natural (and so must be grammatical?), whatever the punctuation should be. – Mitch Jun 6 '11 at 12:59
  • Can you give an example where a comma isn't needed? – language hacker Jun 6 '11 at 22:50
  • In order to be sure, I searched a bit, but I doubt a sentence ending with "I wonder" will be missing a comma, since the sentence will have a weird grammatical and syntax structure, like "Will she come here I wonder." The only usage I found where it didn't have a comma, is the second example I quoted. :) – Alenanno Jun 7 '11 at 21:19

This kind of sentence-ending question may also be a rhetorical figure known as aporia (second entry on the linked page):

aporia [əˈpɔːrɪə] n 1. ... Rhetoric a doubt, real or professed, about what to do or say

It can also be construed as a sentence adverb (also "sentential adverb") which is "an adverb or adverbial phrase that expresses a writer's or speaker's attitude to the content of the sentence in which it occurs."

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