[About a blocked up sink] Of course if Tom was home he'd put it right in a moment. He loves anything like that. He's ever so good with his hands, Tom is.

Is this final "Tom is" a normal thing people would say or is it a strange feature of way of speaking of the quoted person? Please include your dialect (AmE/ BrE/ AuE) in your answer.

What's the purpose of adding these words at the end? Is it a clarification of who we're talking about? Or does it express excitement, maybe?

  • Please don't copy paste a quote, unless you are able to give the exact source of the quote. Apparently this is from 1984.. So You must mention this! – James K May 27 '20 at 6:51

That kind of repetition of the subject and verb is not a common speech pattern in my part of the U.S. Other features strongly indicate that the quotation is from someone who speaks one of the many variants of English spoken in the British Isles. Someone familiar with those variants can probably tell you in what regions or social classes it is common.

But it is perfectly comprehensible to a U.S. listener: it is an intensifying clause to emphasize that Tom is very skilled at particular tasks. Exactly what tasks is a bit vague, but would certainly include working with many sorts of hand tools.

  • "Other features strongly indicate that the quotation is from someone who speaks one of the many variants of English spoken in the British Isles" - I'm very interested in what you exactly mean. Could you list the features which you find very non-American? – musialmi May 26 '20 at 13:55
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    It is not that any individually is "very non-American." All would be understood in the U.S. and would be heard from time to time. It is in combination that they add up to a strong indication of British speech. "Put right" instead of "fix." "In a moment" to mean "right away" or "quickly." "Ever so good" instead of "really good" or "very good." – Jeff Morrow May 26 '20 at 14:18
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    Yes, to me as a British English speaker it's a perfectly familiar usage in informal, slightly old-fashioned and somewhat 'uneducated' speech. It's as though the speaker, having used he twice, suddenly feels the need to confirm that it is still Tom they are talking about. – Kate Bunting May 26 '20 at 15:14
  • @KateBunting - and Jeff - British, or Airstrip Oneish. The speaker is Mrs Parsons, the neighbour of Winston Smith, the central character in George Orwell's 1984. – Michael Harvey May 26 '20 at 16:21
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    @MichaelHarvey I see. Thank you. Actually, I have never been to either one of those places though I heard that the first can be charming and the other not. Perhaps then my ignoring the distinction may be excused as a first offence. – Jeff Morrow May 26 '20 at 16:38

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