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How to explain word order

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  • leifknudsen
    31 May, 2009 at 15:51
    • Total posts: 1

    How would you explain to 14 years old ESL students the different word order at the end of the following sentences:
    1. "I hate you!" she said.
    2. "I hate you!" said the girl.
    Best regards
    Leif Knudsen.

    9 June, 2009 at 14:44
    • Total posts: 4

    Reply To: How to explain word order

    I’m afraid I know that teaching grammar to teenagers is hard work (but someone has to do it). I think the most simple explanation would be to remind them there are other common cases when the subject-verb order is inverted:

    Questions: did you see her?
    After neither, nor, so: I don’t like Big Brother. – Nor do I
    If they are familiar with reported speech, you can tell them that, unless the subject is a pronoun, inversion is often used with verbs like say and ask ( above all in novels, tales, plays, …)

    Good luck

    12 October, 2010 at 21:31
    • Total posts: 20

    Reply To: How to explain word order

    Is it possible to, in a context, say

    ‘I hate you’, did the girl say. Then she turned away.


    21 October, 2010 at 8:37
    • Total posts: 272

    Reply To: How to explain word order

    No, this is not possible, unless it is a question, where we want to confirm what the girl said:

    "I hate you", did the girl say?

    or more commonly:

    Did the girl say "I hate you"?

    In your context, though, it’s followed by another sentence (Then she turned away) and it’s difficult to see how it could work as a question in this context.


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