Is there a word for sentences that make sense when read normally or backwards (not necessarily by reversing the words)? Example:

"Are you as bored as I am?"

  • Probably not; this seems more puzzle- than grammar-orientated. Though obviously many 3-word S-V-O sentences will qualify. 'John greeted Jill.' Also sentences like 'Here is Ali.' 'Three plus six equals nine.' Articles pose a problem. As do prepositions. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 27 '20 at 13:02
  • Of course, as you hint, 'as Adj as' forms a good pivot with 'Are you', 'Is she', Am I' .... – Edwin Ashworth Apr 27 '20 at 14:52
  • Please clarify not necessarily reversing the words? What is other possibility - reversing the letters? Do you have anything else in mind? – Richard Kayser Apr 27 '20 at 18:16
  • " ... not necessarily by reversing the words" Do you mean like a palindrome? – Patrick D Dec 9 '20 at 15:55

It is quite similar to a word-unit palindrome

"Is it crazy how saying sentences backwards creates backwards sentences saying how crazy it is?"

King, are you glad you are king?

but not the exact same, as backwards reading of your sentence would preserve the meaning, but the sentence itself would change, however slightly.

Cambridge Dictionary defines palindrome as

a word or group of words that is the same when you read it forwards from the beginning or backwards from the end

which would perhaps disqualify your example from being a palindrome, however other definitions, like this one that can be found on palindromelist.net, a website dedicated to palindromes, focus more on the meaning of the sentence

a word, phrase, number, or other sequence of symbols or elements, whose meaning may be interpreted the same way in either forward or reverse direction

and might suggest that your example is also a palindrome, perhaps in a different and more subtle flavor when compared to the most popular examples.


Played around with this. It doesn't make much sense, but I think this would count:

"Alice immediately fell. Keep your stuff cool, do watch this can." reversed: "Can this watch do cool stuff? Your keep fell immediately, Alice."

  • 1
    "Lie right down" and "down right lie" are fun :) – Rkoool Dec 9 '20 at 15:20
  • "Alice answers your questions Bob." – Rkoool Dec 9 '20 at 15:29

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