There's a guy like me in every state and federal prison in America, I guess - I'm the guy who can get it for you. Tailor-made cigarettes, a bag of reefer, if you're partial to that, a bottle of brandy to celebrate your son or daughter's high school graduation, or almost anything else ... within reason, that is.

What do the last words "that is" mean?


4 Answers 4


The phrase "within reason" is understood to mean that there are reasonable limits on what has come before - he cannot smuggle a car into prison for you, because it is not reasonable.

Adding "that is" puts an emphasis on modifying what has come before it. It is used to change the intent of what came before it, or to add clarification, especially after a long pause or where there is room for misinterpretation.

For instance:

I can help you with your homework. That is, I will check your draft for errors, I will not write it for you.

It is often used for humor, especially in the dialect of the American South. Consider the following song lyric about a man who discovered oil while hunting:

Then one day, Jed was shootin' at some food,

When up from the ground came a-bubblin' crude.

Oil, that is. Black gold. Texas Tea.

The food/crude lines are part of the rhyming scheme, but the singer pauses to explain himself in an amusing way.


From Cambridge Dictionaries Online's entry on "that is":

said when you want to give further details or be more exact about something:

I'll meet you in the city, that is, I will if the trains are running.

(See similar definitions at the Free Dictionary and Wikitionary.)

Here, the speaker clarifies the phrase "almost anything else". The meaning is "I can get almost anything. To clarify, I can get almost anything within reason."


'that is' is refering to a specific reason that exists.

Within reason <--- is making the claim that it must be reasonable

that is <---- is signifying that 'within reason' must exist.


The phrase "that is" marks something as a clarification, qualification, or further explanation.

In your example, the speaker is adding the clarification or qualification that he can obtain 'anything within reason', rather than 'anything'.

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