3

I saw this sentence in the Cambridge English Advanced Grammar in Use book for teaching grammar:

The bigger the European Union gets, the more inevitable will be differences between the member countries.

Can we also say it this way

The bigger the European Union gets, the more inevitable differences will be between the member countries.

  • 2
    In the first, differences between will be inevitable. In the second, inevitable differences will be between. – GEdgar Sep 21 '17 at 13:10
  • 2
    Ironically, your original title of "Why inversion is used in this sentence?" is ungrammatical because a question undergoes mandatory inversion in English. It needs to be "Why is inversion used in this sentence?" with the subject following the verb in interrogatives. – tchrist Sep 21 '17 at 13:21
  • Please identify the source of this sentence, and if possible, provide a larger chunk of text so we can get a feel for the mood and point of the article. This sounds like a set-up for something like 'So if more nations are to be considered for admittance, they need to bring something to table. Just being bigger for the sake of being bigger doesn't cut it.' Often, one doesn't want the reader scrutinizing the premise too closely, but does want to introduce a vague notion with it. – Phil Sweet Sep 21 '17 at 19:40
  • Thank you Tchrist for correcting me on the way I wrote the question but still you didn't give me enough of an explanation. Thank you anyway. – Majid Sep 21 '17 at 20:01
  • 1
    They both sound off. Much better: "The bigger the European Union gets, the more inevitable it is that there will be differences between the member countries." (This is from an American perspective) – developerwjk Sep 21 '17 at 22:08
0

Likely, this was done for dramatic effect. To this ear, this sentence's style sounds old-fashioned, of a style used for oration rather than written prose. (I'd also add a 'the' before differences to avoid an awkward hiccup in the middle of the sentence.)

Putting differences after the inevitability portion of the sentence allows a speaker to emphasize it; it also keeps the last portion of the sentence together. ("differences between the member countries")

The bigger the European Union gets, the more inevitable will be the differences between the member countries.

If the word order was as you suggested, it would be harder to maintain oratory momentum when speaking the sentence. There's also a hiccup at "be between" that can trip up a speaker.

The bigger the European Union gets, the more inevitable the differences will be between the member countries.

  • Did you deliberately insert an article where the author did not? I do not believe your meaning (or of course prosody) is quite the same. – TimLymington Nov 21 '17 at 19:00
1

I see no inversion here, though I can't claim to understand the details of the construction. The sense seems to be

As the European Union gets bigger, differences between the member countries will be more inevitable, in proportion.

And the basic syntactic construction is (like The bigger they come, the harder they fall):

The bigger the European Union gets, the more inevitable differences between the member countries will be.

The subject the more inevitable differences between the member countries is too long and complicated for the predicate will be, so differences between the member countries is extraposed to the end, giving:

The bigger the European Union gets, the more inevitable will be differences between the member countries.

Alternatively, extraposing between the member countries serves the same purpose:

The bigger the European Union gets, the more inevitable differences will be between the member countries.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.