This paper examines an English construction which is very common in speech, but rare in writing. This construction is referred to as the thing is construction, as in: The thing is, is we've got to be strong. First, similarities between this construction and specificational pseudocleft constructions are noted, and it is proposed that the constructions are related. Then, five differences between the two construction types are discussed. An analysis is presented which accounts for the similarities and differences. Central to the analysis is the fact that thing is constructions contain ‘theta-role by recognition’ (Stowell, 1981), or appositive nouns (claim, problem, feeling, etc.), which allows the initial Wh-word to become optional. The paper also considers reduced thing is constructions such as: Our kids are great on vacations, but when they come back, is, they need to play, claiming that these, in a continuum along with clefts and thing is constructions, demonstrate the extreme case of a tendency for be to be used as a focus marker in spoken English.