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In particular, I was looking at this quote:

Adam (Paradise Lost): ‘nothing lovelier can be found / In woman, than to study household good

Here's 'nothing' emphasizes 'lovelier'. Is there a term for such usage?

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    Inversion is for emphasis. Normal way: They couldn't find him anywhere. Inversion: Nowhere was he to be found. – Cathy Gartaganis Jun 5 '16 at 14:25
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    Why do you think nothing emphasizes lovelier? Nothing is just a noun and lovelier is a comparative which is modifying the noun nothing. @CathyGartaganis I don't think the sentence is in inversion. It is the passive voice sentence of "They can find nothing lovelier". – user140086 Jun 5 '16 at 15:13
  • @Rathony I'm sorry if I'm incorrect but I got the impression of emphasis (perhaps that's due to the passive voice). For example, it could have read 'the loveliest attribute / In women is...' without the negative 'nothing'. So, doesn't the negative emphasize? – Jhkew Jun 5 '16 at 19:42
  • I'd like to advise you to visit our sister site English Language Learners, but please make sure you take the tour and visit their Help Center before posting any question. – user140086 Jun 5 '16 at 19:44
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I think Litotes is applicable here, with the use of the negative to emphasize the positive.

  • I'm inclined to agree with you but I can't up-vote your answer unless you further explain it. Could you add some more explanation? – BladorthinTheGrey Nov 6 '16 at 12:40

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