In which varieties of English is it common to front predicates as in the following sentence?

Bought a nice house, he did.

In which pragmatic contexts is this done in these varieties?

  • 1
    Yoda-speak, perhaps?
    – prash
    Commented Feb 26, 2012 at 18:40
  • 1
    I think it's particularly common in some regional varieties in England and maybe beyond in the UK. We say things like that in Australia too but nowhere near as often as I hear from some British people I meet. Commented Feb 27, 2012 at 9:24

2 Answers 2


All the varieties I know. I don't think it's regional, or varietal; it's just conversational, a sort of syntactic equivalent of Fast Speech Rules.

I suspect it's just an afterthought tag for Conversationally Deleted sentences like the ones Thrasher treats in his dissertation (Thrasher, Randolph H. Jr. 1974. Shouldn't Ignore These Strings: A Study of Conversational Deletion, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor). I posted about it on Linguist List here, here, and here.

That is, "Bought a nice house" is derivable, in context, from "He bought a nice house" by Conversational Deletion, and — in some cases, and if the speaker wishes — may be clarified at the end with a tag, whence the Do-Support.

Some other examples, derived from examples in Thrasher:

  • Gotta go now. ~ Gotta go now, I do.
  • See you next Tuesday. ~ See you next Tuesday, I will.
  • Too bad about old Charlie. ~ Too bad about old Charlie, it was.
  • Been in Ann Arbor long? ~ Been in Ann Arbor long, have you?
  • Ever get a chance to use your Dogrib? ~ Ever get a chance to use your Dogrib, do you?

This doesn't work in every case of Conversational Deletion, since not every deleted initial sequence can form an appropriate tag:

  • No need to get upset about it. ~ *No need to get upset about it, there is.
  • Last person I expected to meet was John. ~ *Last person I expected to meet was John, the.

It's fairly common in Welsh English, particularly in the South. Usually done for emphasis such as "Fed up, I am". You can find more about it in The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language

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