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Questions about reversing the order of a clause’s subject and verb, including subject–auxiliary inversion in questions and normal subject–verb swap in locative, directive, copular, and quotative inversions.

Inversion consists of reversing the order of a clause’s subject and verb (SV → VS), including subject–auxiliary inversion in questions and normal subject–verb swap in locative, directive, copular, and quotative inversions.

These are all examples of inversion in English:

  • Was he ready?
  • Didn’t you already ask?
  • Out the door ran the lynx.
  • Not only was he already gone, so was his wife.
  • “Not I,” said the fox.

Hyperbaton is not inversion

It is not inversion to front the predicate complement, because the subject and verb remain in the same order:

  • Bloody thou art; bloody will be thy end" —William Shakespeare in Richard III
  • Object there was none. Passion there was none. —Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart
  • Helms too they chose. —J.R.R. Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings
  • Rice cats eat, but mice cats eats.

Those are not examples of inversion, but rather of the rhetorical device known as hyperbaton. No subjects and verbs have swapped order from SV to VS.

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