Learn English – Delayed subject with short subject length


I read a few pages (here for example) dealing with "anticipatory/dummy it" and "delayed subject" to try and satisfy my curiosity about an observation I'd made about a friend's speech. Often, when my friend is making a simple observation, she will pull the subject of her sentence to the end, and replace it with an "it"—thus, not

*The movie was good.

or even

*That/it was a good movie.


It was good the movie.

(I left out a comma after good because my friend doesn't noticeably pause there.)

The uses of "delayed subject" or "anticipatory/dummy it" that I've seen are all connected to a subject which is either an infinitive phrase or a noun clause; I haven't seen an example in which the subject is a simple noun phrase.

My friend grew up in northern New Jersey, USA; and her mother (who occasionally had the same trick of speech) grew up in Queens, New York, USA.

Is this mode of speech part of a recognized dialect there, or somewhere else? I don't recall ever having heard it before. Do other varieties of English have similar constructs?

Best Answer

The sentence 'It was good' is grammatically correct, if a little thin-sounding.

Adding the appositive 'the movie' after the sentence (with the standard comma to set off the parenthesis) is still quite acceptable, and sounds more idiomatic.

There is the hint of an afterthought here (because of the 'tagged on' construction), which conveys the impression that real thought has gone into the judgement being expressed. This in turn can convey an impression of a measure of reserve, unlike say with 'Wow! THAT was good!'