Sunday, September 28, 2014

Exploring inversion and fronting


This involves reversing the position of the subject and an auxiliary, or sometimes the subject and the whole verb. You'll be familiar with the idea from question forms and question tags, where we swap or switch (exchange) the subject and auxiliary (including modals), or the verb be. You'll also know such inverted expressions as 'so do I' and 'neither do I'.
You probably also know a bit about inversion with negative and limiting adverbials, and that we can sometimes invert conditionals.


This means putting a word or expression which normally comes later to the front of the sentence, before the subject. This could be, for example, an adverbial or adjectival expression, a noun phrase or clause, or even a verb.

The purpose of this post

This post is not intended to be an introduction to inversion and fronting, but rather an exploration of all the different patterns of inversion and fronting I can find, with lots of (I hope natural-sounding) examples. If you are specifically looking for information about negative inversion or inverting conditionals, or about question tags and short answers, you might be better looking at one of my other posts, linked to at the bottom of this post.

Looking for exercises?

As this post is already rather long I'm not including any exercises here, but will link instead to other posts with exercises, as and when I've written them. You can find links at the end of this post to exercises on negative inversion, inversion in conditionals, inversion in tag questions and short answers, and fronting (including some subject-verb inversion)