I stumbled across the following narrative in Guardian:

The political implications are potentially far-ranging. Anxious to avoid personal blame for twin health and economic disasters, Putin has shifted responsibility for managing the crisis to the regions, which have effectively been left to fend for themselves. Wealthy businessmen – the so-called oligarchs – have stepped into the breach. In such ways does a leader’s power erode and slip away.

As I understand, there seems to be a myriad of reasons, rules or conventions for the inversion of a sentence just like that one in bold.

Would you please explain why this example follows the inverted structure? If you could also lay out further examples to illustrate your explanation, a thing you normally do, I would be grateful.

Many thanks in advance.

  • For the sake of emphasis, sometimes a sentence is inverted by moving the adverbial to the beginning of the sentence and inverting the subject and auxiliary verb. But in that case, the adverbial has a negative meaning; here "in such ways" has no such negativity. Hence the confusion. May 18, 2020 at 15:52

1 Answer 1


Sample sentence: "In such ways does a leader’s power erode and slip away.

Usually, one would see: A leader’s power does erode and slip away in such ways.

The use of does and the main verb is emphatic:

"She does speak English and French."

HOWEVER, this is an inversion used mostly in poetry.

In normal speech, the use of auxiliary do/does or did + the verb is emphatic.

And the inversion is poetic.

If there is an adverbial phrase after the verb: in such ways [says how power erodes and slips away] and you position it at the front [across the plain], the verb and subject must be inverted:

  • The wind blows cold across the plain.
  • The wind blows coldly across the plain.

- Cold across the plain does the wind blow.
- Coldly across the plain does the wind blow.
OR - Across the plain does the wind blow cold.
- Across the plain does the wind blow coldly.

Please see locative and directive inversion here


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