From The Cat in the Hat,

I sat there with Sally. We sat there, we two. And I said, "How I wish we had something to do!"

How do modern linguists, eg CGEL authors or readers, characterize how We sat there, we two differs from the more basic or standard We sat there or We two sat there or The two of us sat there.

I know why, primarily, the variant choice was made by the author here. But it's an example of what? Are there common reasons to choose it aside from creating rhyme or emphasizing/stressing the subject?

I can think of simple similar constructions such as We lived in our own world, you and I. And I can see a relationship between such and emphatic pronouns or emphatic reflexive pronouns or similar: I made it myself.

There is also something similar and something different between the instant sentence and, for example, We sat there, we did.

My purpose in asking is to acquire language to help me make a point that what may seem like very basic or "low level" text usually contains relatively complex formations. CGEL pages or chapter would suffice to answer the question for my particular needs, and I'm hoping for an answer that, if elaborate, also contains a concise and fairly general summary, but which uses technical linguistic terms.

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    @FumbleFingers That's a left-dislocation; this is a right-dislocation. Oct 19, 2016 at 15:04
  • This question asks for the term that describes a pattern variant. The other question asks if a certain pattern is "acceptable". This question asks after the purposes or functions of right-dislocation. The other does not. I don't think Stoney's answer is appropriately transferred to the proposed duplicate, and I think it's a useful answer to retain. Perhaps my question can be edited to render it more constructive I can't immediately think how, but I'd welcome any attempt to do so. The other question seems related but not duplicate. Oct 19, 2016 at 15:33
  • If every question whose answer can be extracted from, inferred from, or partially found in supplementary information contained in an answer to any other question is a duplicate, we have a lot of housekeeping to undertake indeed. Oct 19, 2016 at 15:37

1 Answer 1


We sat there, we two.

The technical term for this is right dislocation. See CGEL, Ch. 16 Information Packaging, §8 (1408) and particularly §8.2 (1411). It is analyzed as if a discourse-old element which would lie within the clause in 'canonical' form is replaced by a pronoun and 'dislocated' to a position after the clause. In cases like your example this analysis is probably valid: reducing the dislocated element to a pronoun defocuses it in the head clause. In actual discourse, however, the most common use of the construction is as a supplement—an afterthought to clarify the referent of the pronoun.

We sat there, we did.

I don't know a technical term for this, and I think it's a rhetorical device rather than a syntactical one. The minimalist recasting of the prior clause is ordinarily not emphasized, and it seems usually to act as a sort of verbal punctuation or transition that 'steps down' the content of the prior clause in order to provide a climax toward what follows.

We sat there, we did, and just watched.

  • Having recently seen something about beginning a sentence with something like having recently seen described as left-dislocation, that clicks with me, and I'm grateful you've pointed me in the right direction. I'm not equipped to understand everything you've written (or you're not equipped or inclined) to write more plainly (struggling to sound and be nonevaluative but descriptive). But I'll read the dense parts (or those densely read!) again after reading some CGEL, and/or see if you're interested in co-unpackaging that information with me in chat! Very much appreciate it. Oct 19, 2016 at 11:10

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