I was reading a poem named I Dream a World by Langston Hughes, where the first two lines say:

I dream a world where man

No other man will scorn

At first I was having difficulties understanding this but later the idea of object-verb inversion sprang to my mind.

Am I correct, the poet has just done the object-verb inversion and nothing else?

By the way, Google has nothing to say about object-verb inversion.

I wonder if it exists?


You can call this stylistic inversion. For example, scorn can now rhyme with adorn, which can be seen as a stylistic improvement. If line 2 is OV, then notice that line 4 is SOV, which is also thoroughly nonstandard in regular English. Stylistic inversion has always been extremely common in English poetry, and in the poetry of every language I can think of, for that matter.

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines

from Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 is a random example. Here, the adverbial too hot appears before shines, which is nonstandard. You could call this verb-adverbial inversion if you wanted, but I think the more general term would be fine, unless you were performing a detailed frequency count or something.

There is an interesting aspect to stylistic inversion, and it is this: When we see it in modern poetry, we can immediately judge how strange it sounds relative to natural spoken English. But in older poems, we cannot do this so easily. Maybe people in the England of 1600 regularly inverted their adverbials---we can't assume one way or another without good evidence! There are ways to study this, but the important thing to keep in mind is that nonstandard syntax in poetry of the past may not have sounded as striking then as it does now.

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