For example,

That, to quit smoking and take care of yourself, is up to you.

  1. is this sentence grammatically correct? (I think it's grammatically correct if we think of "to quit smoking and take care of yourself" as a phrase referring to "that")

  2. Is "to quit smoking and take care of yourself" the apposition of "that"? I mean it's referring to "that" ?

  3. Is it okay to get rid of commas ? (I think it's okay, but there seems to be a little difference in meaning)

  • No, it's ungrammatical, and there's no apposition. In any case, why would you want to construct such a sentence? – BillJ Jun 22 '19 at 9:49
  • @BillJ Just for a check on whether it can be grammatically possible. Isn't there any grammatically natural sentence, regarding my question? – Glittering river Jun 22 '19 at 9:52
  • 1
    It would only make sense if it were preceded by other sentences. But, if it were, that would be understood to refer back to them—and there would be no real reason to add the explanatory information in the first place. (Many people quit smoking and take care of themselves. But should you? That is up to you.) While the standalone sentence is grammatical (syntactic) at the level of a mental exercise (remove the parenthetical information in order to evaluate it), it's strange. – Jason Bassford Jun 22 '19 at 11:35
  • 1
    Also, that does refer to to quit smoking and take care of yourself, but the longer phrase is neither a pronoun nor a noun phrase—so this isn't an example of an appositive (which has that requirement). If you removed the commas, you'd probably also have to remove that from the start of the sentence. Unless, again, it came after something else that make it understandable in context. He said that. That to quit smoking and take care of yourself is up to you. But, also again, it would be odd. – Jason Bassford Jun 22 '19 at 11:41

Yes, it's fine.

"That" can refer to anything. For example:

I like that, this idea of picking one's battles.

I like that, to pick one's battles.

That, to pick one's battles, is the key to good parenting, in my opinion.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.