"Yes. It was easy in the past to give way to British exceptionalism - the fascists never took hold here, etc. Perhaps even other member states of the EU are a bit shocked at what has happened here. But happening it is."

(From The Guardian readers' forum.)

Is happening it a subject in the sentence But happening it is?

I think that the verb is is a linking verb in But happening it is and some sort of suspension is an implied complement in that sentence. My second question is: what does that implied complement refer to (in the context of the cited passage)?

My third question is: is my line of thinking incorrect because the verb is (a stative one) in But happening it is is devoid of any complement?


It's a rearranged way of writing "But it is happening" (present progressive verb tense). Bringing the word "happening" to the front gives it extra emphasis.


But happening it is.

No, it's not a linking verb, but progressive 'be'.

This is an example of preposing, where the complement of "is", i.e. the verb "happening", has been preposed to a position in front of the subject "it".

The 'basic' order would be "But it is happening".

Preposed complements typically serve as a link to the preceding discourse, and must be closely related to information previously introduced; in this case it's related to the statement "Perhaps even other member states of the EU are a bit shocked at what has happened here"

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Thank you for the reply.

 BillJ's reply was promoted to an answer.
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