I've read this sentence on a US internet news site (huffpost.com): "Senior White House adviser Stephen Miller in a series of leaked emails pushed white nationalism[...]."

I've always thought that place ("in a series of leaked emails") goes after the verb and the object ("pushed white nationalism"). But I guess a news site probably uses correct grammar, so what's the rule? Has it changed recently? Is it permissible outside of news speak?

Thank you for your answers!


But I guess a news site probably uses correct grammar...

If only that were true! Sadly, you will encounter poor English grammar and spelling quite frequently even in the most highly regarded print news media.

That said, this sentence is grammatical. You are right that normally the "place clause" would go after the main verb. But English word/clause order is flexible in some cases, and changing the order is usually done to emphasize some part or another of a sentence.

In news headlines and articles, this flexibility is very important and often exercised, because journalists know that many readers who are skimming the text will stop reading after a few words. It is therefore valuable to put the most important and eye-catching information as early in the sentence as possible. I would guess that in the opinion of this journalist (or editor), emphasizing "leaked emails" is more likely to grab a reader's attention and interest than "white nationalism." Whether this is true is a matter of opinion, but this is the kind of consideration a writer can take into account when choosing the order of a sentence.

  • Would it sound weird if I used this word order in a normal conversation? Such as: "My supposedly waterproof boots on reaily muddy trail actually do leak water inside." – Tomáš Pártl Nov 22 '19 at 20:05
  • @TomášPártl That does sound a little weird (and you need an article: a really muddy trail) but it is not wrong. – TypeIA Nov 22 '19 at 20:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.