In grammar, inversion is the process by which the normal order of words, with the subject followed by the verb and then by the object or complement (if any) as in We play football on Saturdays is broken by putting the subject after the verb (as in questions: Do you play football on Saturdays?) or by putting the complement (or part of it) first in the sentence, often for emphasis (On Saturdays, we play football). Other regular forms of inversion, usually requiring little conscious effort by native speakers, occur as follows:
1. In direct speech, the subject and the verb (say, cry, shout, etc.) that identify the spoken words are optionally inverted:

• ‘Hey!’ shouted Mrs. House, who sat inside with her jumpsuit around her knees —New Yorker, 1992.

2. After negatives placed in initial position for emphasis, the subject and verb are routinely inverted:

• Yet never before had I seen anything so scarlet and so black —J. M. Coetzee, 1990.

3. After initially placed so followed by an adjective, the subject and verb are inverted:

• He had hardly been aware, so nervous was he, of what he had been saying —Peter Carey, 1988.

4. In a sentence in which a statement is followed by a reinforcing form of do:

• She enjoyed a laugh, did LilianMargaret Drabble, 1987.

5. In declarations beginning with an adverb, when the subject of a following intransitive verb is a noun: Here comes the train but Here they come.
6. In condition clauses with omission of if or whether:

Were this done, we would retain a separate Bar with skill —Times, 1986

• Statistically, afterworlds —be they Christian, Greek, Pharaonic —must be populated almost entirely by children —Penelope Lively, 1987.

7. In certain types of comparison involving a statement after than:

• Poland's power structure included neither more nor fewer Jews than did the power structure in Rumania or in Hungary —Dædalus, 1987.

8. Words are placed first for special effect in poetry and rhetorical writing:

His soul proud science never taught to stray —Pope

Trusting she had been, she who had been reared in the bosom of suspicion —Margaret Drabble, 1987.

This has spilled over into more informal usage, in which the effect is awkward rather than striking and should be avoided except in conversation:

Great literature it's not, but…it's short, pithy —The Face, 1987.

Modern English usage. 2014.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Inversion — Inversion …   Deutsch Wörterbuch

  • inversion — [ ɛ̃vɛrsjɔ̃ ] n. f. • 1529; lat. inversio, de invertere « retourner » I ♦ A ♦ Sens spéciaux 1 ♦ Déplacement (d un mot ou d un groupe de mots) par rapport à l ordre normal ou habituel de la construction. Inversion du sujet dans l interrogation (ex …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Inversion — In*ver sion, n. [L. inversio: cf. F. inversion. See {Invert}.] [1913 Webster] 1. The act of inverting, or turning over or backward, or the state of being inverted. [1913 Webster] 2. A change by inverted order; a reversed position or arrangement… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • inversión — f. anat. patol. Transposición visceral, por ejemplo, situación del corazón a la derecha. Medical Dictionary. 2011. inversión trast …   Diccionario médico

  • inversión — sustantivo femenino 1. Acción y resultado de invertir: inversión de tiempo, inversión de esfuerzo. No puede conseguirse una inversión del voto tradicional con facilidad. 2. Dinero que se invierte en un negocio o en una operación financiera: He… …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • inversión — (Del lat. inversĭo, ōnis). 1. f. Acción y efecto de invertir. 2. homosexualidad. 3. Mús. Colocación de las notas de un acorde en posición distinta de la normal, o modificación de una frase o motivo de manera que los intervalos se sigan en… …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • inversion — (n.) 1550s, from L. inversionem (nom. inversio) an inversion, noun of action from pp. stem of invertere (see INVERT (Cf. invert)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • inversion — Inversion. s. f. Terme de Grammaire. Transposition, changement de l ordre dans lequel les mots ont accoustumé d estre rangez dans le discours ordinaire. Inversion dure. il y a de trop frequentes inversions dans ce discours …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • inversion — ► NOUN 1) the action of inverting or the state of being inverted. 2) (also temperature or thermal inversion) a reversal of the normal decrease of air temperature with altitude, or of water temperature with depth. DERIVATIVES inversive adjective …   English terms dictionary

  • inversion — inversion. См. инверсия. (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.

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