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The following sentence is from the book "Practical Common Lisp":

A single record, however, does not a database make.

It sounds somewhat strange because of the word order: Subject-aux.verb-object-verb. Instead of this order I would expect the following:

A single record, however, does not make a database.

Is this a common practice? Does the first order alter meaning in any way? Maybe it mimics some other text or a way of talking?

marked as duplicate by RegDwigнt Nov 5 '12 at 23:38

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    It's an archaic phrasing, with the main verb at the end of the clause, separated from its auxiliaries, as in Modern German. This is an allusion to a famous sentence in an early translation of Aristotle: "One swallow does not a summer make, nor one fine day; similarly one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy." – John Lawler Nov 5 '12 at 23:14
  • @JohnLawler That's the definitive answer. – Andrew Leach Nov 5 '12 at 23:30
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    Aristotle pinched it off Yoda: "A summer one swallow does not make." – Edwin Ashworth Nov 5 '12 at 23:30
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    @JohnLawler That comment looks like an answer, and evidently a useful one: can you most kindly make it one? – MetaEd Nov 5 '12 at 23:34
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    There's also the famous couplet with the same structure in the beginning of the last stanza of "To Althea, From Prison", by Richard Lovelace in 1642: "Stone walls do not a prison make,/Nor iron bars a cage." It's a piece of Germanic syntax that didn't make the cut; evolution in action. – John Lawler Nov 5 '12 at 23:37