Is there a word for sentences that make sense when read normally or backwards? 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. Commented Apr 27, 2020 at 13:02
  • Of course, as you hint, 'as Adj as' forms a good pivot with 'Are you', 'Is she', Am I' .... Commented Apr 27, 2020 at 14:52
  • Please clarify not necessarily reversing the words? What is other possibility - reversing the letters? Do you have anything else in mind? Commented Apr 27, 2020 at 18:16
  • " ... not necessarily by reversing the words" Do you mean like a palindrome?
    – Patrick D
    Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 15:55
  • A semordnilap is a word that is also a different valid word when reversed, so I guess you could call this a sentence-semordnilap, but that's not a common term.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jul 8, 2023 at 10:53

1 Answer 1


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.

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