1

Is there a term for when a line of poetry has the words in an unusual/less natural order to fit into a rhyming structure?

e.g. Your journey will end with the ending day, You never again will pass this way;

The second line would more commonly be phrased "You will never again pass this way"

3 Answers 3

2

I think this is an example of the literary device known as inversion. There is a pretty comprehensive explanation of it here: https://literarydevices.com/inversion/

From that website:

As a literary device, inversion refers to the reversal of the syntactically correct order of subjects, verbs, and objects in a sentence.

and

It is also more common to find inversion in poetry than in prose because there the unnaturalness of inversion lends itself well to creating a poetic lilt. Poets might also choose to use inversion in order to create a rhyme or uphold a meter that would not work with the syntactically correct order of words.

And just a note about your last sentence: I think the second line actually would more commonly be phrased "You will never pass this way again." (At least that's how Seals and Crofts would sing it.)

2
  • I think ending the line "way" in the counterexample was to maintain the rhyme with "day", but not fit a likely meter
    – Chris H
    Sep 27, 2022 at 6:04
  • Yes, it was inversion “to create a rhyme.”
    – JLG
    Sep 27, 2022 at 13:21
2

poetic license

n.
The liberty taken by an artist or a writer in deviating from conventional form or fact to achieve a desired effect.
American Heritage Dictionary

1

That looks like ”Yoda Grammar”.

Quoting https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/articles/yoda-grammar/

[…] Carson also notes that although Yoda shifts around sentence elements, he doesn’t do so randomly. He tends to use object-subject-verb word order,* as in “Princess Leia, Han Solo digs,” […]

https://justpublishingadvice.com/star-wars-grammar-by-yoda/ provide this fun graphic.

yoda speak

You could also say Yoda-esque or Yoda-speak. Or sounds like Yoda from Star Wars, etc.

2
  • 2
    From the link in my answer: “The character Yoda in Star Wars often speaks in inversion.”
    – JLG
    Sep 27, 2022 at 13:23
  • @JLG it was your inversion answer that made me think of this one; though I hadn’t clicked the references til now. I liked your answer and upvoted it. I know we have some overlap here, but I am minded to keep this answer anyway.
    – k1eran
    Sep 28, 2022 at 17:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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