Elements which are usually found after the verb (i.e. in post-verbal position) can be moved forward to the beginning of a sentence to give them greater prominence. This stylistic technique is called "fronting". Here are some examples:
"A Welshman I was born and a Welshman I shall die." (Fronted complement)
"Bloody awful that was." (Fronted complement)
"Why don't you take up swimming for relaxation?" "Relaxation you call it." (Fronted object)
Some things you forget. Other things you never do. (Fronted object)
The main discourse functions of "fronting" are:
• organising information flow to achieve cohesion (i.e. linking directly back to something that was said before)
• expression of contrast
• enabling particular elements to gain emphasis.
Quirk / Greenbaum (1990) state that fronting is "very common both in speech and in conventional written material" (§18.14), a view shared by Leech / Svartvik (1994), who call fronting in informal conversation "quite common" and also find evidence of it in more formal English (§§412/413). Biber et al. (1999), however, argue that their own corpus findings suggest that the "fronting of core elements is relatively rare" (ch. 220.127.116.11).