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This is a line I came across in Amitav Ghosh's The Hungry Tide

And I feel I know nothing about you - beyond your name that is.

I know the meaning of "that is", it is used to provide some extra information, but here that meaning is not likely to be true. And I never came across "that is" used in this way.

  • You can think of it like this... And I feel I know nothing about you. (But actually, I know one thing about you--your name.) And "that nothing about you" is beyond your name. – Damkerng T. Jan 11 '14 at 17:30
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I feel I know nothing about you

is the statement. Then the speaker decides to modify that statement with the additional information of:

beyond your name, that is.

Here, the word beyond is used to mean except for or aside from and used as such, is expressing that, while the speaker does know the person's name, they feel like they know nothing else.

In this case, the modifying phrase is added to call out the exception to the general knowing nothing comment. It makes the statement more correct as both parties know that the speaker actually does know something about the other… their name.

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You can think of its meaning like this...

And I feel I know nothing about you. (But actually, I know one thing about you--your name.) And "that nothing about you" is beyond your name.

Here is how I parsed the sentence,

And I feel [(I know nothing about you) -- (beyond your name) that is].

To understand it, I needed to rearrange it a little,

And I feel [(I know nothing about you), and that (nothing about you) is (beyond your name)].

  • @snailplane I agree. I think we can interpret it both ways. However, even as a unit (that is to say, that is what I would like to add), the that part is still have some meaning. I mean that the that refers whatever has just been said. I tried to cram whatever has just been said into (nothing about you). If I could make [nothing about you] a furigana as in Japanese, I would reformat that line without hesitation. – Damkerng T. Jan 13 '14 at 19:51

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