down sat a woman

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New Member
Does this sentence mean the same as "a woman sat down"?
Could you guy help me to solve my query please?
  • dn88

    Senior Member
    That's what it seems to mean, but you should provide a full sentence and context, which is a requirement of this forum.


    New Member
    oh, I am a newcomer so I don't know much about the regulation here.
    Here is the full sentence: Down sat a woman, writing something secretly and quickly leaving the room.


    Senior Member
    Tunisian Arabic
    Yes, that's what it means ('A woman sat down').This is, however, a figure of speech called 'anastrophe', unlikely to be used in everyday speech.
    After reading any of Shakespeare's works, have you ever felt like his words are being mixed up? Yes, this is the use of the figure of speech called anastrophe. Derived from the Greek word, anastrophe means 'turning back or about'. It can be defined as the reversal of the normal word order in a sentence, for emphasis.
    An example of anastrophe is:
    The verb occurs before the subject-noun. Example: Glistens the dew upon the morning grass. (Or, the dew glistens upon the morning grass).
    In your example, even within the verb phrase, the order is reversed; 'sat down' becomes 'down sat'.

    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    UK English
    Your sentence in #3 is grammatical, but makes little sense. How could she be leaving the room as she sat down?
    Is this a sentence that you have written? If so, why do you want to invert the normal order of words, making it sound unnatural?


    Senior Member
    English - AE
    chfattouma is correct, that this is grammatical, but unusual and generally reserved for literature.

    Around here we have a nursery rhyme:

    The Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the water spout.
    Down came the rain, and washed poor incy out.
    Out came the sun, and dried up all the rain
    And then Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the spout again.
    The anastrophe creates an A-B-B-A pattern in the lines of the poem. It also separates the actions of the spider from what is happening with the weather.

    But, unless you are writing a poem, probably best to avoid this usage.


    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I'm not sure it needs to be literary. You could be telling us a story in a dramatic way or you might want to emphasise 'out' for some reason. Or you might want to delay the subject for effect, as when someone says, 'Here comes trouble' (rather than 'Trouble comes here'). Can you confirm whether this is your own sentence? Is there a particular reason for emphasising 'down' or delaying 'a woman'?


    New Member
    as a matter of fact, I myself wrote this sentence to make sure that it was grammatical because this pattern is a little strange to me.
    anyway thank you a lot for helping me.
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