This paper wishes to point out some limitations to the way in which the syntactic classification of pragmatic expressions has traditionally been handled. As an alternative, it proposes a syntactic classificatory system that pivots on the notion of scope. This alternative approach is applied to corpus data of you know and I think. An attempt is made to establish connections between the pragmatic expressions’ syntactic behaviour on the one hand and their functional properties on the other hand and to compare the findings for both expressions. In so doing, special attention is devoted to local you know, a specific syntactic use of this pragmatic expression, which is found to correlate with a particular function, viz. that of marking metalinguistic awareness. The findings of this study may have implications for the way you know is commonly viewed, especially by laypeople, but also in scholarly settings.