Student or Learner
I have a question about the word order:
1. "I don't want to go out with you tonight," the man said to me.
2. "I don't want to go out with you tonight," said the man to me.
I was told in junior high that #2 was the only correct word order,
but, as a matter of fact, which is more common?
Thank you very much in advance for your help on this.
IMO, #1 is more natural. I would use #2 without "to me", but you would then, of course, somewhat alter the meaning.
Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.
In fact, the most common structure is: The man said to me, "I don't want to go out with you tonight."
People often use an inverted structure for emphasis. Since #2 is an inverted strructure, I think it is more common between #1 and #2. I'm looking forward to more professional opinions.