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Given the following sentence,

Nowhere on her title page or copyright page is there a suggestion that anyone but Walker wrote her story.

Can I invert it as follows without changing the meaning?

There is not a suggestion that anyone but Walker wrote her story anywhere on her title page or copyright page.

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It sounds fine, but have you considered "no" instead of "not a"? – Cerberus Apr 25 '13 at 14:20
How about There is no suggestion anywhere on her title page or copyright page that anyone but Walker wrote her story? The simple inversion proposed in your second sentence is confusing & not really good style or syntax. This sentence has three elements: (1) There is no suggestion, (2) anywhere on her title page or copyright page, and (3) that anyone but Walker wrote her story. They really have to be (1+2)+3 or (2+1)+3 or 3+(1+2); I don't think 3+(2+1) works, and 1+3+2 doesn't work well for me. – user21497 Apr 25 '13 at 15:45

No. Your inversion does change the meaning, by suggesting that Walker (and no one else) wrote her story literally on her title page or the copyright page, scribbled around the other text present on those pages.
I'm also not too pleased with the grammaticality of "there is not a suggestion" versus "there is no suggestion"; I am not sure why, since "there is not a hint" sounds fine, although somehow stronger than "there is no hint."

To me, the meaning is unambiguous only if the specification about the title and the copyright page is on its own clause.

There is no suggestion that anyone but Walker wrote her story, not anywhere on her title page nor the copyright page.

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Nowhere and anywhere are adverbs. By default they modify to the closest previous verb,adverb or clause or closest following verb, adverb or clause, if there's none before.

In the first sentence I read "nowhere" modifying "is", in the second one I tend to see it modifying "wrote", it takes longer to comprehend that it's the whole clause from "There" to "story" which the adverb refers to.

So, the meaning might not be changed, but I found the message harder to decipher.

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Nowhere and anywhere are quantified and negative adverbs, and they don't have any default modification; instead, they have a focus. Adverbs are not as simple as they told us in grammar school. – John Lawler Apr 25 '13 at 15:46
According to Webster the adverb "modify a verb..."; according to Oxford Dictionnaries it "normally comes between a verb and its subject" or " between an auxilliary .../...and its main verb". That's good enough for me to say that by default (or in a normal or most current case) it modifies the closest verb or adverb. Focus adverbs are a sub-category, they stil belong to the general case. – P. Obertelli Apr 25 '13 at 16:36
No, not exactly. It may bind or focus (negatives and modals focus, quantifiers bind) the constituent it precedes, or any constituent within that. The difference is usually signalled in speech with intonation and stress, but it produces ambiguity in writing, as usual. – John Lawler Apr 25 '13 at 16:42
By the way, dictionaries are where one looks up meanings and etymologies of lexical items; not grammar. Grammars are where one looks up grammatical terms and their uses. – John Lawler Apr 25 '13 at 16:45

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