Sometimes we need to change the direct word order: subject + verb and use the inverted word order instead. We use inversion in order to emphasize subordinate parts of the sentence.
When we refer to fronting, it means that we place an adverbial phrase at the beginning of the sentence and invert the subject and the predicate as well:
Direct word order:
The target audience research was conducted by interviewing the customer service department. The wholesale clients were the most representative ones.
The target audience research was conducted by interviewing the customer service department. The most representative ones were the wholesale clients.
There are several types of fronting, depending on which part of the sentence is placed at the beginning:
- comparative and superlative adjectives
The first episode was a bore. Much more gripping were the following ones.
We explored several glaciers on our last trip to Iceland. Best of all was Langjökull.
- so + adjective + that clause
So high it was that I was unable to make a step forward towards the end of the cliff. The view was breathtaking.
So hard it was to even get up off the bed that she preferred to spend her whole day reading a book.
- also + adverbial phrase
Only close friends and family members attended the wedding. Also at the service was Janice’s colleague, Sue, who had helped organize the event.
All the shareholders were presented at the company meeting. Also to the briefing came a representative of the German investors, who expressed his concerns on the previous month budget data.
The concert has been postponed. We have nothing but hope that they will hold it next year. Such is the fate of everyone who has already bought the tickets for the rock festival.
We’ve been working without any days off for half a year already. Such is the will of the chief executive.
- adverbial phrases describing positions and participle verbs of position and movement
I came to the street where I had spent all my childhood. At the end of the street was a ramshackle building that once used to be a mayor’s office. Sitting at the curb of the driveway were some teenagers listening to music and laughing their heads off. Parked nearby was the mayor’s old Buick, which meant that the owner was probably at home watching his favorite true crime channel.
- infinitive clauses
She’s cleaned the kitchen, mopped the floor, sorted out the laundry and fixed the leaking tap. To lie in a hot bubble bath is her only dream now.
The office has been in a state of turmoil from the early morning: endless phone calls, shouting clients and desperate managers. To put the headphones on and switch on some classic music is my sudden urge.
- infinitive without to
He swore to finish the project by the end of the following week. And stick to his word he did.
He was sure that he would lose the competition due to his knee injury. And lose he did. He was the second-worst runner.
To make it sound even more formal, we can place the previously mentioned objects or complements to the front of the sentence:
Being a travel blogger, she has been active in many social networks: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Twitter she uses the least as it doesn’t allow her to download high resolution media files.
He described his new employee as a smart, hard-working and multitasking woman. Multitasking she definitely was, she was talking on the phone, painting her nails and texting someone at the same time.