Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

The reversal of the normally expected order of words: or, in prosody, the turning around of a metrical foot. Inversion of word order (syntax), also known in rhetoric as hyperbaton, is a common form of poetic licence allowing a poet to preserve the rhyme scheme or the metre of a verse line, or to place special emphasis on particular words. Common forms of inversion in English are the placing of an adjective after its noun (his fiddlers three), the placing of the grammatical subject after the verb (said she), and the placing of an adverb or adverbial phrase before its verb (sweetly blew the breeze). Stronger forms of inversion, where the grammatical object precedes the verb and even the subject, are found in Latinate styles, notably Milton's . In prosody, the term is applied to a kind of substitution whereby one foot is replaced by another in which the positions of stressed and unstressed (or of long and short) syllables are exactly reversed: the most common type of inverted foot is the trochee substituted for an iamb at the beginning of a line.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.