I found the same kind of question in this site, but the answers were not satisfying.
I read several papers on English left-dislocation, but all of them dealt with only left-dislocation of an NP, like (1b):

(1a) Her parents seem pretty uncaring. (non-dislocated version)
(1b) Her parents, they seem pretty uncaring. (left-dislocation)

So my question is: Is left-dislocation of a that-clause possible?
For example, can I change (2a) to (2b)?

(2a) I still can't believe that he's gone. (non-dislocated version)
(2b) That he's gone, I still can't believe it. (left-dislocation)

Thank you.

  • 1
    Your notation is confusing. What are you implying with " [Her parents] i "?
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 18, 2020 at 1:41
  • 1
    I'm implying "co-reference", but it may be unnecessary. Thank you for your comment.
    – Shaun
    Mar 18, 2020 at 1:46
  • Hi, Araucaria. The subscript <sub>(i)</sub> looks good. Thank you kindly.
    – Shaun
    Mar 19, 2020 at 1:45

1 Answer 1


Yes you can 2.b makes sense, you would only do this for poetic effect though, as it reads awkward. For example if you wanted to draw extra weight to the fact that "he's gone" by introducing the that he's gone-clause first, that would be a valid use case.

  • 3
    Yeah, the beginning of the sentence is not the best place for that-clauses. They parse much better at the end. There are several rules like Extraposition that have the effect of moving that-clauses out of initial positions. Mar 18, 2020 at 2:54
  • To Gary and John, (2b) is correct, but the acceptability depends on the situation, I take it? Thank you for your comment.
    – Shaun
    Mar 19, 2020 at 1:52

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