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"Inverted" sentence? [before going to sleep is the time ....]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by 8769, Jan 3, 2008.

  1. 8769 Senior Member

    Japanese and Japan
    The following is one of the model sentences I have found in a writing/composition textbook now in use for high school students in Japan.

    Just before going to sleep is the time when I enjoy reading the most.

    I am wondering if it is grammatically correct to take a prepositional phrase like “just before going to sleep” as the subject of a sentence. When I was a student, I was taught that the subject of a sentence should be a noun equivalent.

    Or is the sentence above an “inverted” sentence?

    Any comment would be appreciated.
     
  2. mjscott Senior Member

    It is an inverted sentence.

    I enjoy reading the most just before going to sleep.
     
  3. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    Carefully is how I might answer your question, 8769. An adverb can be a subject, but only of a linking verb. So the subject of

    Just before going to sleep is the time when I enjoy reading the most.

    is the prepositional phrase, but the subject of

    Just before going to sleep comes the time when I enjoy reading the most.

    is the time when I enjoy reading the most.

    I hope this helps.
     
  4. 8769 Senior Member

    Japanese and Japan
    Thank you, mjscott.

    Do I understand then that you mean #2 below is grammatically correct, while #1 is not?

    1. Just before going to sleep and while comingi back from work on the train are the time when I enjoy reading the most.
    2. Just before going to sleep and while comingi back from work on the train is the time when I enjoy reading the most.
     
  5. 8769 Senior Member

    Japanese and Japan
    Thank you, Forero.
    Do I understand then that you mean #1 below is grammatically correct, while #2 is not?

    1. Just before going to sleep and while comingi back from work on the train are the time when I enjoy reading the most.
    2. Just before going to sleep and while comingi back from work on the train is the time when I enjoy reading the most.
     
  6. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Hi 8769

    I agree with Forero that the subject of
    Just before going to sleep is the time when I enjoy reading the most
    is the prepositional phrase "just before going to sleep"; and that the sentence, therefore, is not an inverted sentence.

    If it makes the construction easier, you could think of "just before going to sleep" as an abbreviated version of "the time just before going to sleep".

    As regards your supplementary question, I would say the correct version is:
    Just before going to sleep and while coming back from work on the train are the times when I enjoy reading the most.

     
  7. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    If you mean "just before going to sleep" and "while coming back from work on the train" as different times, then #1 is the more correct.
     

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