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Why is “xxxx doth not a yyyy make” considered valid English?


Dazzling images do not a shining nation make

correct grammatically? To me it should be

Dazzling images do not make a shining nation.

Does the shifting of make emphasize the meaning?

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marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, MετάEd, jwpat7, RegDwigнt Feb 6 '12 at 11:31

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

It is modeled on well-known sayings from the past. For example: Stone walls do not a prison make,/ Nor iron bars a cage; (Richard Lovelace) – GEdgar Feb 6 '12 at 2:35
up vote 1 down vote accepted

This is an example of the rhetorical device known as anastrophe.

From the Wikipedia article:

Anastrophe (from the Greek: ἀναστροφή, anastrophē, "a turning back or about") is a figure of speech in which a language's usual word order is inverted: for example, saying "smart you are" to mean "you are smart".

In English, because its natural word order is settled, anastrophe emphasizes the displaced word or phrase.

So yes, it is used for emphasis.

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One swallow does not a summer make. Dazzling images do not a shining nation make - Poetry.

One swallow does not make a summer. Dazzling images do not make a shining nation. - Prose.

If we accept that in both cases we are addressing an audience that we wish to influence, the poetic versions, with their attendant pathos, exert stronger appeal. They are therefore more successful in holding the attention of the audience.

"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears" - works along the same lines.

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