I'm having difficulty understanding what the difference is between sentences of this sort—

"Да к тому же еще Дядя Федор наступать начал." (начал наступать)

"Давай мы лучше узнаем, где он разговаривать научился." (научился разговаривать)

What role does inversion play here. I know this is conversational style, but does anyone want to take a guess at what the equivalent in English would be?

1 Answer 1


This kind of inversion is not only conversational, but also commonly used in fiction and poetry to put accent on the action performed rather than the subject, thus making the whole sentence more emotional.

For example,

"Где ты научился разговаривать?" may as likely be a neutral or an emotional question, while

"Где ты разговаривать научился?" clearly implies that the speaker is surprised or puzzled by the fact of his opponent being able to talk.

I think that using passive voice would be the best, although quite clumsy, attempt to approximately match that without going Yoda-style, e.g. 'Let's better figure out where his talking skills were learned' as opposed to 'Let's better figure out where he learned to talk'.

  • sounds like a good translation (as close as we can get in English). Thanks, :)
    – VCH250
    May 10, 2017 at 7:11

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