Using Inversion for Emphasis


2/7/20241 min read


Inversion often serves as a simple (if formal) means of moving emphasis around. In these examples, note how moved the underlined sections are from their typical place in the subject-verb-object sequence.


  • "Never have I seen such foolishness!"


  • "A lonely corner of the World the roads have taken you to today." Legend of Tal: King’s Bargain

He could also have just inverted the entire adverbial phrase: “To a lonely corner of the World the roads have taken you today.” But I like his better! And, again, it puts more emphasis on “lonely corner.”


  • "Shadows had filled the streets, and only rooftops remained bathed in light warm and gold." Murtagh


While still manipulating emphasis, sometimes inversion can serve more subtle purposes, like mirroring the meaning of a sentence.

  • "Past pillars of red and yellow stone they trudged, beaten and filthy, winding through windswept canyons." Defiant

With the help of a parenthetical element, this inverted adverbial gives the sentence a winding, meandering feel to match its literal meaning.

  • "Far from the heart of civilization, cowled in a gloom barely lifted by the moons, rests the town of Hunt's Hollow, all still and shadowed." Legend of Tal: King’s Bargain

In this case, inversion helps the sentence to reflect the distant and remote aspect of Hunt’s Hollow—readers finally stumble across the main subject of the sentence just before it ends.