I quoted the following sentence from The Guardian.

Then, before any significant change could be made to the Cuban system, the Soviet Union imploded, and with it went the extensive economic network that it had maintained.

How could the preposition "with" be followed by "it went the extensive economic network.."? Is there any inversion of subject (it) and verb (went) so that we can understand the above sentence as follows?

[ 1 ] The Soviet Union imploded before any significant change could made to the Cuban System.

[ 2 ] The extensive economic network went with it (the implosion of the Soviet Union).

1 Answer 1


Both instances of it refer to the Soviet Union.

We understand implosion to entail the "departure" or "disappearance" of the USSR—when it went away, the network which it had maintained went away with it.

When a complement or adjunct which would ordinarily follow the verb is 'preposed' (put before the verb, at the beginning of a clause), as with it is in this sentence, it is quite common to 'postpose' the subject (move it after the verb) when the subject is 'heavy' (consists of many words) or represents 'new information' in the discourse.

There is an informative discussion of this subject-dependent inversion in The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, Chapter 16 §5, pp. 1385-8.

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