Inversion In English there is a strict order

Inversion in linguistics, also known as
is a grammatical construction, where the syntactically correct order of
subjects, verbs and objects in a sentence is reversed. In English there is a
strict order in which sentences are constructed (subject-verb-object). For
example, it’s syntactically correct to say, “Tomorrow I will see my
friend”. An inversion of this sentence would be “Tomorrow my friend I
will see”. When using inversion, the verb always comes before the subject.
Inversion is most commonly used in poetry in which it may satisfy the
demands of the metre un achieve the emphasis, because an author may want to
move the word order around so that the words at the end of the lines rhyme.


Function of inversion and usage in everyday life

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Inversion was very typical in the older classical poetry genre, it was frequently
used by authors like William Shakespeare, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Mark
Twain. Like all literary devices, the main function of inversion in prose or
poetry is to help writers achieve stylistic effect, laying an emphasis on a
particular point or changing the focus of the readers from a particular point
and to create rhythm. In present day literature it is usually used for the
purpose of laying emphasis. Just like in common speech, authors use inversion
in their works to emphasize certain words. When the natural flow of language is
manipulated, the reader takes more notice. This literary device is more common
in poetry than prose, because it helps to arrange the poem in a manner that
catches the attention of the reader not only with its content but also with its
physical appearance. It is more common to find inversion in poetry than in
prose, because there the unnaturalness of inversion fits in well in creating a
poetic flow. Poets might also choose to use inversion in order to create a
rhyme or uphold a meter that would not work with the syntactically correct
order of words.

People use inversion quite
frequently in everyday speech when they want to place an emphasis on a certain
word. For example, if someone asked a person how is he feeling and he was
feeling good, he might say: “Wonderful is the way I feel.”. Here are some more
other examples of inversion a person might say:

“Surprised, he was.”

“Friday will come the decision.”

“How beautiful this is.”

People can also often hear
examples of inversion when watching sports and hearing the sportscasters talk.
For example:

“An excellent decision he made

“Looking energetic today, Jordan.”


In the English
language, there are inversions that are part of its grammar structure and they
are quite common in their use. Inversion always occurs in interrogative
statements, where verbs, auxiliaries or helping verbs are placed before their
subjects. Inversion also happens in typical exclamatory sentences, where
objects are placed before their verbs and subjects, and is introduced with a
word starting with “wh”, such as the following examples:

“What a horrible
picture it is!”

“Where in the world
were you!”


Inversion is achieved
by placing an adjective after noun it qualifies (“the boy smart”), placing a
verb before its subject (“yells the teacher”) or placing a noun before its
preposition (“worlds between”).

 There are 18 types of inversion (see 1st
appendice), but the two major types of inversion in English are subject-verb
inversion and subject-auxiliary inversion. The difference between these two
types is the verb involved: whether it is a full verb or an auxiliary verb.

The most frequent type
of inversion in English is subject-auxiliary inversion, also called the
subject-operator inversion, in which an auxiliary verb changes places with its
subject (they invert). Therefore, the word order is auxiliary-subject, which is
the opposite of the subject-verb order of declarative clauses in English. The
most common use of subject-auxiliary inversion in English is in questions. It
appears in yes-no questions:

Statement – He has
read the newspaper.

Question – Has he read
the newspaper?

It also appears in
questions introduced by other interrogative words: “What is he reading?”

Another use of this
inversion is in sentences which begin with certain types of expressions which
contain a negation, for example: “At no point has he read the newspaper”.

There are certain
sentence patterns in English where subject-verb inversion takes places where
the verb is not restricted to an auxiliary verb. Since the usual order of words
in a sentence is subject + verb + object, sometimes certain adverbs come at the
beginning of the sentence. This order in then inverted and the verb comes
before the subject:

“Never have I seen
such a mess.”

“Not only did I read
the book, but also I wrote an essay.”

There are several
types of subject-verb inversion in English:

inversion (“In the corner sat a lady.”)

inversion (“Into the kitchen came my dad.”)

inversion (“The policeman is Jim.”)

inversion (“” Where is my bag?”, asked James.”)










In many other
languages, especially those with a more freer word order than English, inversion
of subject and verb or of other elements of a clause can occur more freely,
often for practical reasons rather than as a part of a specific grammatical
construction. Inversion can take place with a variety of verbs and not just
auxiliaries, and with other syntactic categories as well.

Certain languages like
other Germanic languages and Romance languages, use inversion in ways very
similar to English, such as in question formation. The restriction of inversion
to auxiliary verbs does not apply in these languages. Subjects can be inverted
with any type of verb, but particular languages have their own restrictions and

For example, in French, “tu aimes le chocolat” is a declarative sentence
meaning “you like chocolate”. When the order of the subject tu (“you”) and the
verb aimes (“like”) is switched, a question produced: “aimes-tu le chocolat?”
(“do you like chocolate?”). Similarly in German, “du magst” means “you like”,
whereas “magst du” can mean “do you like?”.                      

 In languages with V22
word order, such as German, inversion can occur because the verb has to appear
as the second constituent in a declarative sentence. Therefore, if another
element, such as an adverbial phrase or clause, introduces the sentence, the
verb must come next and must be followed by the subject:

German: “Ein Jahr nach
dem Autounfall sieht er wirklich gut aus.”

English: “A year after
the car accident, looks he really good.”

The same occurs in
some other West Germanic languages, like Dutch, in which the previous sentence
would be: “Een jaar na het auto-ongeval ziet hij er werkelijk goed uit.”. In
these languages, inversion can function as a test for syntactic constituency
since only one constituent may surface preverbally.




1  from Greek anastroph? ‘turning back’, from
ana- ‘back’ + strephein ‘to turn’

2 In syntax, V2 word order places the verb of a
clause or sentence in second position

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