We usually begin sentences with their grammatical subject. But sometimes we move things to the front for emphasis.
- Crazy, that driver. (More emphatic than 'That driver is crazy.')
Moving something to the beginning of a sentence in this way is called 'fronting'. Fronting is very common in informal speech. The words that are usually fronted are objects and complements.
- A very nice time we had yesterday. (= Yesterday we had a very nice time.)
- Nice people they are! (= They are nice people.)
- Lovely she is! (=She is lovely.)
- People like that I just can't stand.
Question-word clauses are also often fronted.
- How she got the goods through customs I don't understand. (= I don't understand how she got the goods through customs.)
- What I should do now I don't know. (=I don't know what should I do now.)
|2. extra emphasis|
Fronting words in short sentences can also give them extra emphasis. This happens mostly in speech.
- Strange people they are!
- Last for ever these shoes will.
In a few exclamatory expressions, a noun is fronted before 'that', but this is uncommon in modern English.
- Food that I was!
- means bringing a more important word to the front of a clause, in a very informal style, articles, pronouns and auxiliary verbs are often left out.
Example: Postman been? Seen John?
Sometimes ellipsis is used to front a verb or complement, while the subject is put in a 'tag'.
Examples: Likes his beer, Stephen does.
Funny, your brother. Nice day, isn't it?
|4. adverbs and adverb particles|
Adverbs and adverb particles are often fronted when giving instructions to small children.
Examples: a.Down you come! b. Off we go! c. Out you come! d. Back you go to your study.
Another reason for fronting adverbs is for emphasis.
Example: Now you tell me! (= Why didn't you tell me before?)
|5. fronting with as or through|
Fronted adjectives and adverbs are possible in a structure with 'as' or 'through'.
Examples: Young as I was, I realized what was happening.
Tired though she was, she went on working.
Fast though she drove, she could not catch them.
Much as I respect his work, I cannot agree with him.