Position of the object.

The usual position of the object in declarative sentences is after the predicate (see Chapter XV, § 26). However, in exclamatory sentences the direct object may occupy the first place.

What wonderfully blueeyes you have, Ernest! (Wilde)

This position of the object generally does not cause inversion, except in poetry, high prose, and negative exclamatory sentences.

Thee would I spare — nay more — would save thee now! (Byron)

Passage after passage did he explore,room after room did he peep into! (Dickens)

In declarative sentences the front position of the object serves the purpose of emphasis. In Russian this position of the object is common (e. g. Волейболом он увлекался в юности, а теперь играет только в теннис); in English it occurs but seldom.

A fearful voyage Ihad with such a monster in the vessel. (Ch. Bronte)

Honeyshe had in plenty out of her own hives. (Hardy)

As a rule this prominent position of the object causes no inversion except when the object is expressed by word-groups with not a.., or many a... (see § 4, 5).

The direct object acquires some prominence when it is separated from the predicate by some secondary part of the sentence — generally an adverbial modifier or a prepositional indirect object. We may call this the back position of the object.

She produced from her pocket a most housewifely bunch of keys.(Ch.


I had at heart a strange and anxious thought.(Ch. Bronte)

Cowperwood smiled as he saw in the morning papers the announcementof

the passage of each ordinance granting him a franchise. (Dreiser)

As is seen from the above examples this occurs when the object has an attribute.

The front position of the indirect object in declarative sentences is rare. The prepositional indirect object is more common in this position, especially in colloquial English.

Of his lovehe would tell her nothing. (Voynich)

To Martinthe future did not seem so dim. Success trembled just before him.


Sometimes the front position of the prepositional indirect object causes inversion.

To this circumstance may be attributed the factthat none of the letters

reached my hand. (Dickens)