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Highlight: Interactivity, hyperlinking, searchability, multimedia—all these qualities of the Net bring attractive benefits. Along with the unprecedented volume of information available online, they’re the main reasons that most of us are drawn to using the Net so much. We like to be able to switch between reading and listening and watching without having to get up and turn on another appliance or dig through a pile of magazines or disks. We like to be able to find and be transported instantly to relevant data—without having to sort through lots of extraneous stuff. We like to be in touch with friends, family members, and colleagues. We like to feel connected—and we hate to feel disconnected. The Internet doesn’t change our intellectual habits against our will. But change them it does.

—The Shallows

I figured it should read But it does change them. But isn't it contrary to the previous sentence The Internet doesn’t change our intellectual habits against our will ? one saying it doesn't change something but later saying it does change something?

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You are right. The most common form of that sentence would be

But it does change them.

The author is only using a different word order to try to sound more poetic.

That [verb][object][subject][helper verb] pattern that he used here is actually fairly common


And no it's not contradicting the previous sentence:

The Internet doesn’t change our intellectual habits against our will

in this context, against our will can be effectively replaced with if we don't want it to.

so it's not contradictory if you assume that we actually do want the internet to change our habits.

  • There's nothing wrong with complement preposing, so you could perhaps say "basic" instead of "correct". – snailcar Jul 25 '14 at 6:16
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    @snailplane - but a fine line, there is, between complement preposing and plain Yoda-speak. – oerkelens Jul 25 '14 at 6:38

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