I want to ask a question about it. Why do we do it? Why do we use the prepositions at the beginning of a sentence? For example:

Up came Gandalf on a very splendid white horse.

Why is "up" separated and why is it at the beginning? Is it different from its normal version?:

Gandalf came up on very splendid a white horse.


1 Answer 1


If you disobey the standard Subject-Auxillary-Verb-Object order of sentences, it draws a lot of attention to items not fitting the pattern.

Making writing exciting or dramatic is all about artfully manipulating the readers attention and making what's important to the story's events or pace stick in the reader's mind.

Combine this with the fact that English at one time was a fully inflected language with flexible word order. So it's no surprise that being flexible with the word order can lend a "medieval times" or Shakespeare-ish flair to writing if done right. You have to be a good writer to pull this off.

So you can see for the reasons abobe why this is a tactic used by writers to make their narratives more interesting.

In particular, for verbs of motion, beginning the sentence with the preposition indicating direction of movement draws a lot of attention and emphasis to that motion. Sort of like camera shots that move quickly tend to engage movie viewers more strongly.

  • Well, what does the writer want to take attention? Is it "coming up of Gandalf " because of a part of the verb at the beginning? Jul 28, 2017 at 14:22
  • The motion up is what gets the most attention.
    – LawrenceC
    Jul 28, 2017 at 14:23
  • "adobe"? Muscle memory?
    – TimR
    Jul 29, 2017 at 9:51

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .