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I have come across, more and more frequently, that writers move the verb forward in sentences like: Today some English teachers attend to grammatical niceties in a more analytical way than did their predecessors

in stead of

...than their predecessors did.

Is it an American/British difference? What is the King's choice (assuming he speaks the King's English)?

  • As far as I know it is used by Americans. Not sure about 'the King' since the last one died in 1952. – WS2 Apr 21 '14 at 6:10
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Whilst it is a perfectly grammatical and indeed elegant way of using English it is perhaps not as common as it once was. It is, however, used extensively in the north of England, particularly in the Yorkshire, Lancashire area, in expressions such as:

He is a clever man, is John. It's really been playing me up, has my back. They are a good side are Sheffield United.

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There is a similar example of inversion in the prescriptive grammar The Right Word at the Right Time: A Guide to the English Language and How to Use it (p300).

Bear in mind that this year's overheads cost the company almost twice as much as did last year's.

The author comments:

After as and that, and in comparisons, an inverted word order is still found in official writing. It sounds very stilted, and all the more so in less formal writing.

The author further notes that the did is superfluous and can be omitted, as can the did in the OP's sentence.

In cases where the verb cannot be omitted, inversion may be preferred if the subject of the verb is long and complex. The grammar's example is:

However, we are obliged to undertake certain closures and redundancies, as would be any enterprise that has to cater in a time of recession for a clientele at once very specialised and notoriously volatile.

The uninverted word order here (subject followed by verb) places a higher cognitive load on the reader:

However, we are obliged to undertake certain closures and redundancies, as any enterprise that has to cater in a time of recession for a clientele at once very specialised and notoriously volatile would be.

As to the Op's question, I suspect that such inversion is more a matter of personal style than a usage that is more or less common in AmE or BrE.

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