English Word Order: VS?

I saw the strangest syntax today – a VS ordering in English from the pen of John Piper and it was a question. I wouldn’t have know about it if I had not seen the Gender Blog’s cross posting of it.

Come on, dads, have some courage. Just say, “Over my dead body are you going to wrestle a girl.” Of course, they will call you prudish. But everything in you knows better.

Just say, “Over my dead body are you…”??? When I first read it, I thought it was going to end with a question mark. But it did.

I had to find out how common this was, so I searched “over my dead body are you” in quotes on Google (RESULTS).

Results 110 of about 378 for “Over my dead body are you”. (0.27 seconds)

This compares to:

Results 110 of about 1,880 for “Over my dead body you are”. (0.67 seconds)

Honestly, I was surprised to see that many hits. But it looks like many were links to Piper’s post and others actually are questions:

Businessworld – Newspapers Are Not Dead

When you took over Pearson you were quoted as saying “the FT would be sold over my dead body”. Are you likely to consider a sale of the FT now?…

But there are really ones too beyond Piper’s quote. One of the few others on the first page of hits ironically was a grammar test of English idioms:

Answers: English Slang Idioms (151) / Usage of hair, out, over

Over my dead body are you going to spend the last of our money on something like that,” George’s girlfriend informed him.

This last one make me nervous. The idiom they’re teaching is, of course, “over my dead body,” but I am quite concerned about this non-standard word order being taught to ESL students – it seems that is who the test is for.

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