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Inversion in English


Kenny同志
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Can inversion be used with present continuous sentences? For example, 'The rumour is still spreading among the fishermen' is natural English but grammatically, can we say 'Among the fishermen is still spreading the rumour' 

 

Personally, I find it odd but can’t explain why. Any thoughts? Thanks.

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English is not a V2 language like German. I think only adverbials with negative or limiting meanings at the beginning of a sentence will trigger a partial inversion (auxiliary verb + subject + main verb). For example, "Not only is the rumor still spreading among the fishermen, but..."

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Agree with second post, and further agree with original observation that present continuous may be a factor.

 

Unfortunately, I can't explain -- but one further nuance I perceive, the unnatural feel of second phrasing in Kenny's post may be amplified by its seemingly abrupt ending.  In my opinion, a reason for choosing this type of non-standard inversion may be because one wishes to relate some extended parenthetical detail that could detract from an understanding of the fundamental sense of the sentence.  For example,

 

Amongst the fisherman had spread a rumor that the government would confiscate the day's catch.

 

Although the phrasing seems antiquated (biblical / poetic?), I could tolerate this example sentence -- albeit still less preferable to suggested inverted form of [Prepositional phrase] [Subject] [Predicate]...

 

 

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