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    #1

    Flipping: Object - Auxiliary Verb - Subject - Main Verb

    Hello,

    The following sentences are part of the curriculum taught at a secondary school. Students are asked to invert a normal affirmative sentence to a Verb-Subject construction.

    a. I can do my homework. >> My homework can I do.

    b. I ate my sandwich. >> My sandwich did I eat.

    c. I always have had such a bad morning. >> Always have I had such a bad morning.

    d. I studied maths. >> Maths did I study.

    To me, it looks similar to what I have learned as inversion. But I have only seen inversion with adverbs and certain "negative" constructions (Not only..., but also...). Is this an old construction?

    Best regards,

    Nawee

  1. charliedeut's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Flipping: Object - Auxiliary Verb - Subject - Main Verb

    To me, the "converted" sentences sound like Yoda from the Star Wars movies (as in: "Powerful you have become, the dark side I sense in you").
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Flipping: Object - Auxiliary Verb - Subject - Main Verb

    What's the point of this? None of the converted sentences are proper English.
    Are you sure they mean OVS. I think Verb-Subject corresponds better to VSO:
    1. Can do I my homework.
    2. Ate I my sandwich.
    etc.
    That might be a linguistics exercise to get an ides of how some VSO languages work, but I can't see how it teaches English.
    Here's a list of VSO and OVS languages: (Note that there are no natural OVS languages listed, only Klingon and Interlingua).
    http://lingwiki.com/index.php?title=List_of_VSO_Languages
    http://lingwiki.com/index.php?title=..._OVS_Languages
    Last edited by Raymott; 18-Jul-2014 at 12:51.

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    #4

    Re: Flipping: Object - Auxiliary Verb - Subject - Main Verb

    Yes, I'm very sure. I copied those sample sentences from the handout that is used for exam preparation.

    And to answer your question, I don't know why this construction is taught.

    Thank you for your posts. Now I know it is not proper English usage. If I don't understand it, then it's not a problem.

    Nawee

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    #5

    Re: Flipping: Object - Auxiliary Verb - Subject - Main Verb

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Nawee:

    I was wondering whether you were referring to something like this:

    Mona: I spent 5 hours baking these cookies, and you haven't eaten any. Why?

    James: I'm sure they're delicious, Mona, but cookies I don't need!

    That sentence is playful or humorous. If James had answered, "I don't need cookies," that might have sounded a bit rude and might have hurt Mona's feelings.
    But using inversion changes the meaning to something like: Look at my big stomach! Cookies are something that I do not need at this time!

    *****

    Let's look at your first sentence:

    1. If you want to use inversion (as I did in my "cookie" example), it should probably be: My homework I can do.


    James: I am having a terrible problem trying to cook this turkey.
    Mona: I'm not a very good cook, either. But I'm a good student, so I can help you do your homework.
    James: Thanks, Mona. My homework I can do. What I can't do is cook this turkey!

    Do you notice the special emphasis on the words "My homework"?

    *****

    Regarding your other sentences:

    b. My sandwich I did eat. (That seems to be somewhat similar to my "homework" example.) It's the vegetables that I did not eat!

    c. Such a bad morning I have always had, (I personally do not think that people would say such a sentence, but maybe the following would be possible: Such bad mornings I have always had.)

    d. Maths I did study. (It's languages that I never studied!)



    James

    P.S. I am happy that you want to learn about inversion. Sometimes we use it for the beautiful sound. Sometimes to change the same "boring" word order. Here is an example that I have in my files: "Close friends these two friends were not." That is stronger than the usual "These two friends were not close friends."
    Last edited by TheParser; 18-Jul-2014 at 16:46. Reason: I changed "cooking" to "baking."

  3. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Flipping: Object - Auxiliary Verb - Subject - Main Verb

    Quote Originally Posted by naweewra View Post
    Always have I had such a bad morning.
    Will it be proper English if 'Always' is replaced with 'Never' which is a negative adverb?

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    #7

    Re: Flipping: Object - Auxiliary Verb - Subject - Main Verb

    Yes — and it would make much more sense.

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    #8

    Re: Flipping: Object - Auxiliary Verb - Subject - Main Verb

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    Will it be proper English if 'Always' is replaced with 'Never' which is a negative adverb?
    Hello, Matthew.
    Yes. That's a proper English sentence.

    (Edit) Cross-posted with Rover

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