Often, I invert the conventional order of the words. I mean, I like to put the predicate before the subject. When I wrote something like:

"The Absolute is perfect". That said my teacher when she was correcting an assignment she gave me.

One user remarked me that it was grammatically incorrect and I should rewrite it into something like:

My teacher said: "The Absolute is perfect", when she was correcting an assignment she gave me.

Or at least that was what I interpreted from this question. I don't see any kind of ambiguity with the first style. Have I somebody that could enlighten me?

  • 1
    It isn't ambiguous, it just sounds rather 'literary'. So said my teacher would be more usual, but it implies that you are sceptical of the truth of what your teacher said. Jan 5, 2023 at 9:53

3 Answers 3


People typically use standard grammar in everyday conversation because they want to sound well-spoken, and they want to minimize the chance that they will be misunderstood. Placing the predicate before the subject is, as you know, unconventional.

This inversion can have a literary effect:

Or it can make the speaker sound a little alien, like Yoda in the Star Wars movies. (link goes to a 2015 article in The Atlantic which discusses Yoda's syntax):

  • "Much to learn, you still have."
  • "The greatest teacher, failure is."

In your specific example, there is a little space for misunderstanding, because "that said" followed by a comma at the beginning of a sentence can be used to introduce a statement that disagrees with the previous statement. ("Even so" or "having said that" are synonyms in that case). Someone reading your sentence and anticipating standard sentence structure may have been confused because they expected that "That said" was being used in the more typical way, despite lacking a comma.

For instance:

  • My teacher corrected my use of the absolute. That said, my teacher still gave me full marks for the assignment.

This construction may be jarring for many English speakers who would prefer an alternative. One such alternative you mentioned already. Another alternative would be "my teacher said that". Another more ornate form might be "thus sayeth my teacher". Another might be "that was said by my teacher". All have essentially the same meaning and will be understood by many English speakers.


"The Absolute is perfect". That said my teacher when she was correcting an assignment she gave me.

99.999999% of the time, a native speaker would never write or say that.

First, I think you mean to say that the teacher found no errors on the assignment and exclaimed, "It's absolutely perfect!" If I've understood that correctly, then there are basically two ways to write it: as a declarative sentence or as dialog.

In English, declarative sentences usually start with a subject, which is followed by a verb:

My teacher said, "it's absolutely perfect" when she was correcting an assignment she gave me.

You can also write it more like dialog, for example if you were writing a screenplay:

"It's absolutely perfect!" said my teacher as she corrected the assignment.

The latter is more similar to what you wrote, but "that" is completely unnecessary.

A third choice is to write it without quoting the teacher directly (just as an aside):

My teacher told me my assignment was absolutely perfect when she was correcting it.

  • A subtle mistake I made. Since Absolute is a noun, it must be written with capital. Ty
    – tac
    Jan 5, 2023 at 19:30
  • I still don't know what it means. Jan 6, 2023 at 15:38
  • @JamesK No, not all. Look at this. Remember the maxim of the maxims: All the universal statements can and will be proven as false.
    – tac
    Jan 9, 2023 at 2:53
  • "The absolute is perfect" was completely throwing me off. I've edited my answer now that I think I understand what you mean by it. Jan 9, 2023 at 9:43
  • @swmcdonnell My teacher never said that! ... I just cited that sentence in order to simplify and give an example. You could put whatever you want in the quote. The exact words that came from my teacher mouth doesn't matter for this question
    – tac
    Jan 9, 2023 at 13:53

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .