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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Inverted Syntax December 25, Figures of Speech

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Cornsarn it, General!  This ain't no time for your
fancy inverted syntax!
Inverted Syntax: This is the reversal of the normal sentence order.  Usually it's a good idea to stick to normal subject-verb-compliment order for the sake of clarity if for no other reason.  Just try getting a bunch of highschool students to parse out a sentence like Bryant's "To him who in the love of nature holds communion with her visible forms, she speaks a various language."  But sometimes Inverted Syntax is just cool.  It adds a certain gravitas to an otherwise plain sentence.  "In God we trust," is just plain better than "We trust in God."  Moreover, Inverted Syntax lets you postpone the meaning of the sentence until the end for greater impact.  "The man was bitten by an alligator," has more punch - more "bite" if you will - than "An alligator bit the man."  And in the spirit of Christmas, look how beautifully Luke's Inverted Syntax holds us in suspense about the angel's "good tidings" until the very last phrase:
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

1 comment:

  1. And if that angel had taken Freshman Composition with Dr. Sarah Gordon, he'd have known it would have been correct to say: "...a Savior, WHO is Christ the Lord."

    Merry Christmas to all and sundry.

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