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In The Independent I found this sentence:

More substantially dealt with is a suggestion, repeated over the phone by an Estonian minister to EU foreign affairs chief Cathy Ashton, that the snipers who killed so many protesters in Kiev were cynical opposition plants.

I would like to know whether the inversion is used at the beginning of the sentence. I was taught that inversion is possible when using e.g. hardly, never, little, seldom.

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    It's a nice and well constructed sentence. My guess is that the inversion was written to place suggestion and that the snipers.... part close to each other, because suggestion = that the snipers ... – Man_From_India Aug 31 '14 at 13:56
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    I expect the previous sentence to talk about how some other point was glossed over and the writer wanted to contrast the substance here with the lack of it on that previous point. To do that, the "dealing with" was brought forward to prominence in this sentence. – Jim Aug 31 '14 at 19:41
  • This article helps and lists some adverbs susceptible to this inversion: perfect-english-grammar.com/inversion.html – Greek - Area 51 Proposal Jan 16 '15 at 1:07
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I was taught that inversion is possible when using e.g. hardly, never, little, seldom.

That is true. Those words are all adverbs that trigger subject–auxiliary inversion, producing a sentence with the structure "{adverb} {auxiliary verb} {subject} {rest of predicate}".

But the example in your question is quite different. "More substantially dealt with" is effectively an adjective: it's the complement of is. So the structure of your example sentence is "{subject complement} {form of be} {subject}".

Although it's not obvious from your example, this is not ordinary subject–auxiliary inversion, in that it's not restricted to just an auxiliary verb. For example, consider this sentence:

Even more pervasive have been complaints about guards running wild. [link]

Had this been subject–auxiliary inversion, the word been would have come after the subject.

Rather, this is a special pattern where the subject and the subject complement have completely switched places; instead of the usual "{subject} {form of be} {subject complement}", we have "{subject complement} {form of be} {subject}".

The decision to use this pattern is made for stylistic reasons rather than syntactic ones, so it's hard to give cut-and-dried rules; but in your example, I think the writer selected it for two reasons:

  1. The subject complement — "More substantially dealt with" — makes it clear how the sentence relates to the previous topic. It allows a new topic to be introduced without seeming abrupt. (In writing education, this is often called a "transition".)
  2. The subject — "a suggestion, repeated over the phone by an Estonian minister to EU foreign affairs chief Cathy Ashton, that the snipers who killed so many protesters in Kiev were cynical opposition plants" — is very long. There is a general tendency in English for long or "heavy" phrases to be pushed toward the end of a sentence.

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