I was reading a passage and encountered the following sentences:

The advent of the mechanical clock meant that although it could be adjusted to maintain temporal hours, it was naturally sited to keeping equal ones. With these, however, arose the question of when to begin counting.

In the second sentence arose is an intransitive verb so "the question of when to begin counting" can not be its object. I think it is its subject and the typical word order is:

With these, however, the question of when to begin counting arose.

Why the author have changed the order of verb and subject in here?

Is this order changing grammatically correct?

1 Answer 1


You are correct that the phrase is the subject of arose. The word order is grammatically correct, and it's an option for the writer in that sentence. It has the effect of placing when to begin counting alone at the end of the sentence, in a position of emphasis.

  • But as I know subject should come first in a sentence!! For example "He went." and "Went he." are two options for an speaker and both are grammatically correct?
    – alireza
    Sep 7, 2021 at 17:16
  • Went he, as it stands, is very uncommon, but it occurs. Check google books for examples. There are other examples here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverted_sentence Here is an example from Wikipedia: Off the coast of North Carolina lie the Barrier Islands, a popular summer resort area. Sep 7, 2021 at 21:27

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