I can't find a written rule about the subject-verb inversion in appositive phrases.

In the temple, is a statue.

In the temple, a statue is.

I feel that the first one is more natural, but, as said, I can't find a written rule in grammar sites or books. What is the rule?

Is it working when the verb is the descriptive "to be"? Or only with it?
Is it only with location phrase (in the temple)?

  • Since neither the temple nor the statue is redefined in your sentence I don't belive that you have given an example of apposition. To be a example of apposition it would have be something like "In front of the temple, an ancient and well loved building, is a statue". The phrase in italics is the appositive phrase.
    – BoldBen
    Commented Oct 19, 2019 at 9:46
  • There's no appositive modifier in your examples. Your first example has subject-dependent inversion (the PP "in the temple" is the dependent). Btw, drop the comma, it's wrong. Your second example is so unnatural as to be ungrammatical.
    – BillJ
    Commented Oct 19, 2019 at 10:53
  • Btw, you use the term 'verb- subject inversion' in the tittle of your question. That term is misleading as it's actually subject-dependent inversion.
    – BillJ
    Commented Oct 19, 2019 at 15:08

1 Answer 1


From what I understand, the only plausible possibility is the first one, seeing that there seems to be a hidden [there] when you say "...is a temple."

In both situations I believe there is a fundamental mistake because you seem to be trying to say that a statue exists inside the temple, not that the statue is somehow an agent of something. If that is indeed the case, you should never withdraw the verb, otherwise it's going to be lacking information. Also, try switching to verbs like "lies a statue", "lives a statue" (metaphorically), "exists a statue", and so on. If it doesn't work with any of these, then it won't in any way.

  • I also though that the "there" was implied, but I've read a lot of grammar articles about English grammar, to find an answer, and now, I think it's really an inversion. My sentence is only an example of possible verb inversion, so I could replace the "statue" or the "temple" by something else.
    – Quidam
    Commented Oct 19, 2019 at 12:26
  • @Quidam The difference is that "is" is not normally inverted like this, but other verbs can be. You can say "In the temple a statue stands."
    – Barmar
    Commented Oct 21, 2019 at 4:13

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