On top of that come the problems of managing proceedings in what is in effect a huge debating society, in which everyone has a say, and speeches are relayed by “human microphones”—chanted sentence by sentence by the participants. All that gets tedious after a while.

the source is here

I try to extract the main sentence. It should be "On top of that come the problems", but it confuses me. what is the subject in the main sentence?

I asked an AI and its answer is "problems". if true, how could it be?

  • Please include the source of the quote. Please use a link. Also avoid line breaks except in poetry
    – James K
    Commented Mar 1, 2023 at 6:51

1 Answer 1


The sentence features inversion. The preposition phrase "on top of that" is a location (a metaphorical location) which triggers the inversion of the subject and verb. The verb is "come" and the subject is "problems of managing proceedings", a noun phrase headed by "problems".

Inversions are triggered by locative prepositional phrases, when the are positioned first in a sentence

The cat sat on the mat -> On the mat sat the cat.

The location in the example is metaphorical, the "problems" are "on top of" other issues, meaning that the other issues are subordinate or caused by these problems. But this is enough to trigger the inversion of the subject and verb

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