4

"Sorry I was a bit short with you earlier, Potter," she said abruptly. "It's stressful this managing lark, you know, I'm starting to think I was a bit hard on Wood sometimes." She was watching Ron over the rim of her goblet with a slight frown on her face.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

What does "It's stressful this managing lark" mean? Does it mean this managing lark is stressful?

  • 2
    The structure of this very sentence is analyzed in this book. – Alex Feb 6 '19 at 6:19
  • Yes, it means 'this managing lark is stressful'. – Katinka Hesselink Feb 6 '19 at 12:22
  • 1
    The book linked by Alex doesn't mention it so I assume I'm incorrect but I would have thought a comma was required after stressful. If I was speaking I would always pause slightly between the two clauses. I don't think I've ever had cause to write such a sentence but if I did I would replicate the pause with a comma. – Eric Nolan Feb 6 '19 at 14:00
5

I think it's an epitome of something called extraposed clause as in such cases, the dummy 'it' leads the sentence.

Let me try an example where clause is used as a subject.

That the restaurants are closed on Sundays is nonsensical.

Here, if you want to make it extraposed, you write -

It is nonsensical that the restaurants are closed on Sundays.

A bit closer to your example can be found here.

What they are proposing to do is horrifying.

but then, extraposing would be...

It's horrifying what they are proposing to do.

So, yes, it means what you got it!

  • But "this managing lark" is not a clause. – dan Feb 6 '19 at 6:33
  • @dan that's what the analysis on that sentence says in the book as stated in the comment of Alex. There it says that the noun phrase takes a different form. Check the link. – Maulik V Feb 6 '19 at 8:35
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    The passage to which Alex's comment linked indicates that the sentence in the question could be classified as a dislocation rather than an extraposed clause. What I take from the book is that there is not universal agreement on this classification. – David K Feb 6 '19 at 14:09
  • @DavidK true that! In fact, I was confused when I heard it for the first time. Luckily, a few English teachers and I were discussing on this topic a week back. That's why I remembered it! – Maulik V Feb 6 '19 at 16:38

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