What is it called when you say things backwards?

1 Answer

See below for some possibilities:


There are a few possibilities.

  • Inversion (also known as anastrophe) is the reversing of word order. For example, I can say:

I went to school yesterday.

but I can invert the order of the words in a few different ways. Here's one:

Yesterday to school went I.


  • Chiasmus is the use of two clauses where the ideas in the two clauses reversed to achieve a parallel statement. For instance, I can say:

I drove to town several hours ago. T'was half a day ago that I went to town.


  • Antimetabole is the use of two clauses that are exactly (or almost exactly) reversed. For instance, I can say:

You can take the man out of Canada, but you can't take Canada out of the man.