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Why is it "Here you are!" but "Here comes the teacher." ? I'm quite confused. When should I use inversion?

  • Here is the cheese (thing or non-human being), here comes the mirror man (person coming), here you are (person) (person who arrived). I'm 95% sure. – Archa Jun 25 '15 at 14:46
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    Invert only with a pronoun. – StoneyB on hiatus Jun 25 '15 at 15:23
  • @StoneyB "Invert only with a pronoun." <== er, are you sure on that? – F.E. Jun 25 '15 at 17:40
  • Your first example "Here you are!" has preposed a locative element ("Here"), while your second example "Here comes the teacher" has subject-dependent inversion. Preposing and subject-dependent inversion have different pragmatic constraints; and the context and the speaker's intent are major factors as to which can or could be used. ASIDE: Notice that sometimes the meaning can be different from the ordinary/canonical word order: "Here comes the bus" (inversion) versus "The bus comes here" (canonical word order). – F.E. Jun 25 '15 at 17:52
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    @DamkerngT. They are two different information packaging constructions: "preposing" and "subject-dependent inversion"; and so, should really be treated separately. That is, it isn't one or the other. The default word order (i.e. canonical word order, CWO) is, in general, almost always acceptable in any context (e.g. "Subject + Verb + Dependent" is in CWO). But information packaging constructions use non-canonical word order (NWO) and have pragmatic constraints; and so, context will determine whether a sentence in NWO will be acceptable or not. – F.E. Jun 26 '15 at 7:14
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"Here" in both contexts is simply the present location of the person making the statement. Some examples:

If I'm standing in the kitchen and I say "The kitchen is here", I'm simply saying that where I am is same location as the kitchen.

If I stand next to my brother and say "My brother is here" or even "Here is my brother!", I'm simply saying that my brother is in the same general location as I am.

If my wife and I are looking for my car keys, and I exclaim "Here they are!", I'm simply indicating that I've found the car keys in the location that I'm presently in.

If I then tell my wife "Come over here.", I'm simply telling my wife to move from her location and come to my current location. As she is approaching me, I could say "Here comes my wife.", which is simply indicating that she is in the process of moving to my present location.

The meaning of here is the same in all of these situations. Note however that "Here" can be relative in terms of the scope of the location. I could say "Here in Canada, we like to eat cheese." Again, the meaning of "Here" is the same, it is my present location, but I'm specifying the scope of my location to my country. I could define this scope to whatever I like.

"Here, on planet Earth, we need water."

"Here in my town, we don't like potholes."

"The Pan Am games are coming here."

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When you use here as an adverb of place at the start of a sentence and the subject is a personal pronoun, there's no inversion; we don't invert with a pronoun. For examples:

Here he comes.

Here they are.

Here it is.

On the other hand, if the subject is a noun, there's an inversion.

Here comes the bus.

Here comes the teacher.

Here is Adam.

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