I have read them in few disconnected articles and in conversations but could not understand them completely.

"These kids I tell you" or "kids I tell you" expression meaning.

What do they mean ?

  • I had to smile when I read this. I could hear it in my mother's voice. "Oy, these kids, I tell you, they're so lazy today." I think "these kids" is what I was taught was called a topicalizer. It introduces the topic. "I tell you" indicates that the speaker is about to state an opinion. I think there should be a comma between the two because they play different roles.
    – Al Maki
    Commented May 17, 2016 at 16:32
  • @AlMaki Yes; and the opinion may in fact left for the hearer to infer. Commented May 17, 2016 at 17:09
  • 2
    It is an elliptical shorthand for any of a number of possible complaints by elderly people about the current generation of adolescents. Quintus Horatius Flaccus in the first century B.C. recommended that any author who wished to create believable elderly characters should put such complaints in their mouths, so either the degeneration of the species has been ongoing for over two millennia or a jaundiced view is a symptom of senescence. I am betting on the latter, and boast no personal immunity from the condition. Commented May 17, 2016 at 17:22
  • @Brian Donovan: These handheld devices the young kids have today! I tell you they're amazing! The usage doesn't inherently imply "complaints". Commented May 17, 2016 at 17:26
  • The bound-together expression is "I tell you" or "I'm telling you." Whether the the subject of the telling is kids, money, politics, work, or something else, you could frame it as "[subject], I tell you..." And the construction "[subject], I tell you" conveys the idea "I am about to tell you something about [subject]."
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 2:25

1 Answer 1


To me "These kids I tell you" is the beginning of a complaint or compliment about "these kids" followed by the explanation of your complaint or compliment so your next words would be:

"These kids, I tell you, are driving me crazy!"


"These kids, I tell you, are very mature for their age."

The "I tell you" is added in as emphasis, but then the rest is dropped just to leave it open for interpretation.

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