Thursday, July 28, 2011

What is inversion?

The second literary skill you will study is inversion.

By definition, inversion is the reversal of the normal word order in a sentence or phrase (Elements of Literature- Fifth Course, page 1177).

Inversion is usually used when writing poetry because an author may want to move the word order around so that the words at the end of the lines rhyme.

However, sometimes inversion is used for a certain effect. That is the case with the speech of one character from the Star Wars movie, Revenge of the Sith. Yoda, the Jedi master, speaks almost entirely in inversion.

Now view the following video and pay attention to how Yoda, the little green Jedi master, speaks. Most of his sentences are inverted.

Did you notice how Yoda puts the noun phrase at the end of the sentence instead of at the beginning? One example is: "If into the security recordings you go, only pain will you find." In normal English syntax, the sentence would be: "You will only find pain if you go into the security recordings."

Another example is :"Destroy the Sith, we must!" In normal English syntax, the sentence would be: "We must destroy the Sith!"

Think of several possible reasons why Yoda would speak like that. One might be that it forces the listener to pay closer attention to what is being said. Can you think of any other reasons?

Inversion is most effective when used to write poetry. The author might need to move words around in order to make lines of poetry rhyme.

Here is the audio version of "Here Follows Some Verses upon the Burning of Our House, July 10, 1666". Listen as she reads and note the inversion she uses to make end rhymes. It would be a good idea to have your textbook opened to page 29 as you listen to this. You can actually see the inverted word order while hearing the poem.

Now, just for fun, try writing a few lines (maybe 5 or 6) of poetry using inversion. If you blog them to me, I will give you 5 extra credit points on your next assignment. This offer is only valid if you blog back to me. Do not bring the poem to school and try to turn it in because I will not accept it.

Your next literary skills are the parts of a play and reading a play.


  1. After reading about inverison, I tried to write a few lines of it. Even though it is very interesting, I also found it very confusing. I enjoyed listening to Anne Bradstreet discribe the house fire through words of inversion.

  2. My examples of inversions are..
    "In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit."
    "Begun, the Clone War has."
    "Tomorrow, I will die."
    "Raining, it is."
    Liar, you are"

    I think the video exampled Inversions very well. I also find it kind of funny, yet interesting that Yoda can is showing people about it. I think it's kind of hard to understand Inversions at first. It took me a while. I think it was really enjoyable to listen to Anne Bradstreet describe "The House Fire" in inversions. She did it very well.

  3. Inversion
    On to the fields we must go.
    Bright red flowers to find.
    Lay in the grass and smell fine nature unwind.
    Laying low feeling the slightest touch of flowers as a cloud fly's by.
    The birds, bees and trees that you see in the sky.

    Inversions are new to me, but this article definitely helped explain it well. It is hard to recognize inversions in poetry if you aren't paying attention. The evidence of inversions are everywhere and this was a good example of it.

  4. in this inversion we got new thing's what ever we need. and about Anne Bradstreet fire pic, when i see this pic i really remember my country because in my country at the age of 10 to 12 years old. that time it's happen same like this pic. so i feel very scared at that time

  5. My examples of inversion are...
    "To the school, we must go"
    "Begun, has you life"
    The video of Yoda and Obi-Wan was oay but, it didn't help me understand inversion like the clip of Anne Bradstreet. As soon as it came on, I could pick out the inversion and hear it throught the whole thing. Anne Bradstreet was a perfect example.

  6. The Anne Bradstreet video gave me a very good insight on how to use inversion.Inversion is very hard to understand but i am slowly getting it.

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  8. I never really understood why yoda spoke the way he spoke until now. I never knew what inversion was before now. Here's a couple inverted lines I wrote.

    Last night, to bed I went.
    Yesterday, no money I spent.
    Homework, I'm done with for the day.
    Xbox, I now leave to play.
    Inversion, I have just learned.
    Extra points,I have just earned.

  9. It wouldn't let me hear the Anne Bradstreet one, but I did get to see the Yoda one. It sounds very odd, I'm not used to hearing Inversions. I doesn't seem like normal English.:)-----Shayna Kelly

  10. I agree with what Larry said. I never undstood why yoda talks the way he does, till today. I would attempt at the bonus however good poet I am not. I actuly enjoyed the Anne Bradstreet poem. It was very cleverly written and one of the better poems I've heard in my lifetime.

  11. To me I never really knew why people/characters talked like that through certain productions. After watching the video and reading a few paragraphs, I get that his words are flip-flopped from how we would write a correct sentence. The Yoda video really helped me understand inversion a lot better. I liked when Anne Bradstreet read because it had a sort of rhythm to it. Mainly because the end words rhymed. In all I understand inversion a lot better.

  12. I loved Yoda as a kid, but never really understand his English. Now that i understand inversions, i thought I'd try and write a poem with them.

    The day starts, get out of bed I must.
    For of to school, I must go.
    Being sure, Covered in dust I'm not,
    Inside I am, Not at all slow.
    Yeah...i need to work on that...

  13. i thought it was very interesting but it was confusing when i first heard it

  14. I liked the way Yoda speaks it sounds so confusing but really is simple! I think I could easily trick people using inversion. I enjoyed the way Anne Bradstreet wrote her poem, very descriptive !

  15. I think its pretty cool how Yoda speaks backwards like he does and you can still understand what hes saying.