1) Последним его словом было мое имя.

2) Мое имя было последним его словом .

3) Моим именем было последнее его слово.

4) Последнее его слово было моим именем.

I'm assuming you can phrase this sentence in at least four different ways, but how do they compare in terms of nuance and emphasis?

Incidentally, I wonder if the different positions of "его" affect the meaning of the sentence at all: "последним его словом" vs "его последним словом"?

  • Putting "слово" at the end, like in #2 (and #3, though it's not proper) expands the range of possibilities (A trial defense? A kind of final decision? A conversation that ended abruptly?), while putting it up front creates a stronger impression that the person has died, and that word was the last word of his life. Putting "последним" to the very front adds gravity to it.
    – Alexander
    Jun 14, 2018 at 17:26
  • 3 and 4 imply (and 3 implies it really strong) that I was named after what was his last word.
    – Abakan
    Jun 14, 2018 at 18:16

3 Answers 3

  1. Последним его словом было мое имя.

This sounds neutral: "His last word was my name."

  1. Мое имя было последним его словом.

This might give the impression that your name killed him. :)

  1. Моим именем было последнее его слово.

This is a sort of Yoda-speak: "My name his last word was".

  1. Последнее его слово было моим именем.

This sounds OK. Almost as good as No.1.

  • Just to be sure: In "Последним его словом было мое имя", "мое имя" is the subject, right? Interesting how the different word orders give such different impressions! Jun 14, 2018 at 16:20
  • 1
    That's right, "мое имя" is the subject. Different word order and different case markings. Jun 14, 2018 at 19:38
1) Последним его словом было мое имя.

Emphasis on мое имя. ("Последним его словом было мое имя, а не что-то другое")

2) Мое имя было последним его словом .

Emphasis on последним его словом, especially on последним. ("Мое имя было последним его словом, а не первым или, например, третьим с конца.")

3) Моим именем было последнее его слово.

This is hard to comprehend. It sounds for me like a gothic litherary style.

4) Последнее его слово было моим именем.

Like 1. Also, it sounds a bit like there is a queer coincidence between his last word and the narrator's name.

  • 1
    As for variant 3, it's rather easy to imagine a situation in which that could be said. Imagine a murderer who was arrested because his dying victim called his name as his last word. Now in a prison cell, in desperation he's slamming his fists on the wall and shouting, "МОИМ ИМЕНЕМ было последнее его слово". The capitals mean shouting. And that's a drama in verses, and the next lines are something like "Потом растаяло оно на его устах. / Часы размеренно били полвосьмого, / Ну а меня наполнял безотчётный страх". What I mean, #3 is a very emphatic sentence.
    – Yellow Sky
    Jun 20, 2018 at 9:16

Nos. 1 and 4 are plain, narrative variants, slightly emphasising "his last word" meaning and differing in grammar only.

No. 2 changes emphasis to "my name", stays in the narrative style.

No. 3 reorders the words and because of this the phrase gets "dramatic". Emphasis may be put either on "his last word" or on "my name" by intonation, when spoken/read, or by typographic means, when written/printed.

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