The problem of how Yoda’s sentences fit together has been bothering me and I have finally come to the conclusion that Yoda’s syntax has no rules. I imagine George Lucas just makes Yoda say stuff that sounds right. This means that there is no way of knowing for sure (apart from asking George) how Yoda would say any given thing. This problem is complicated further by the fact that we only have limited material to work with because Yoda doesn’t actually say that much.

Even so I have still managed to form some rules that Yoda follows roughly when he speaks although none are entirely secure so there are exceptions.

Basic phrases.

In phrases with one subject one object and a simple verb the object goes first, then the subject, then the verb. (OSV)

e.g. “The dark side I sense…”

Compound Verbs.

In simple phrases with compound verbs the participle goes at the beginning, then the object, then the subject, then the auxiliary verb.

e.g. “Meditate on this I will.”

Negatives.

In negative sentences the negative pronoun comes after the verb for simple tenses and after the auxiliary for compound tenses.

e.g. “need that you do not.”

Adjectives.

Yoda usually puts adjectives in the same place as negative adjectives but not always.

e.g. “The force runs strong..”

Prepositional Phrases

Prepositional phrases go at the end of sentences and make no difference to word order.

e.g. “The force runs strong in your family.”

Commands.

Yoda uses the same word order for commands as normal English.

e.g. "You must confront Vader".

(All quotes are from my memory of the films.)

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