Questions about Inversions - Inverted Word Order
I have some questions about inverted word order in sentences.
I understand that we some times invert the word order of sentences in English for emphasis or added "effect" per se.
1. Are there any particular circumstances or types of sentences where this would be likely to occur, or perhaps only occur?
2. Are there any other reasons for doing this other than the one I stated so far?
3. If one's first language is English, inverting sentences might come rather easy. Are there any particular rules with regards to inverted word order that a student of English could use in order to gain an understanding of how this is done in the correct way?
1. Could anyone offer a grammatical type explanation for the following example of inverted word order?
2. Also, could anyone please say if "than" and "when" can be used interchangeably in the following example? And if so, is there a grammatical explanation or some sort of reason for it?
As soon as Emily put the phone down it rang again.
No sooner did Emily put the phone than it rang again.
No sooner did Emily put the phone down when it rang again.
All answers to, and comments about this "question" of inverted word order would be appreciated.
FYI, the technical term for this inversion of word order is hyperbaton.
I’d say that hyperbaton is a just rhetorical device, used merely to embellish speech.
Originally Posted by gwendolinest
I thought hyperbaton was something that had more to do with a type of unnatural word order, which would be used for effect.
What I mean to point out here is not a type of word order that is unnatural, but reversed or put into a different order.
To me, what I am asking about here are inversions or sentences with inverted word order. I don't quite see it as hyperbaton. Here's one definition of hyperbaton. I believe there might be some slight variations on it. I can't say the example I've left here is hyperbaton. The word order is inverted, but the order is still logical in a standard way.
A figure of speech, such as anastrophe or hysteron proteron, using deviation from normal or logical word order to produce an effect.
Oops. Then I don’t know. Sorry.
Originally Posted by TALKtown
No problem. As I said, I appreciate all input and comments with regards to this this question. (made me think about what I was saying and asking here, no problem)
>>>No sooner did Emily put the phone down when it rang again.<<<
I would be hard pressed to explain why, but I definitely wouldn't use
Originally Posted by RonBee
I'd be hard pressed to explain it as well. That's the problem. I did a search and found a similar sentence that in fact uses "when" in that form. It was on Google. I didn't save it. I'd have to find it again. Using "when" somehow occurs to me as a way to invert the sentence, but I understand your point about it not sounding completely correct. Still, it doesn't sound completely incorrect to me either. Maybe I'll do another search or check the Collins Concordancer later. Of course, it wouldn't be conclusive, but at least it could be seen as some sort of indicator.
A similar sentence using "when" instead of "than" is in this text. Perhaps it's just the context that allows for it, but it is the same sentence structure using "when" instead of "than". I will add that the other examples I found only use "than".
We started to walk back across the gravel parking lot, and no sooner did I have the key in the car door when I heard my wife screaming, "Oh no! Oh, oh, oh!"
The technical argument is that the comparative 'sooner' should be followed by 'than'. Many people say 'when', however. :wink:
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