I am a bit confused with the 'inversion' rule. As far as I know, if the subject is not the first word then it gets inverted. Therefore it would be: zelfs schrijft het kind.
Obviously I know this is wrong. But can someone point out to me where I am misunderstanding the rule? ty!
If a sentence starts like "zelfs", "maar", "en", "ook", etc. that word doesn't count in determining the first word. That means that, however counterintuively, in the sentence "Zelfs het kind schrijft" the subject is in the first place.
I do not know how to explain this fully to you. However, perhaps I can help you a bit by showing how the meaning of the sentence can vary if one permutes the words.
All correct permutations of "het kind", "schrijft", and "zelfs" are:
Zelfs het kind schrijft!
There is this child that writes, and that is exceptional. The emphasis is on 'kind': "Zelfs het kind schrijft!"
Schrijft zelfs het kind?
One asks whether (quite possibly among others) even the child writes. Emphasis is on 'zelfs' or 'kind': "Schrijft zelfs het kind?" or "Schrijft zelfs het kind?"
Schrijft het kind zelfs?
With this question one expresses one's astonishment that the child even writes (in which case the emphasis is on 'schrijft': "Schrijft het kind zelfs?") or that it is the child that writes (in which case the emphasis is on 'kind': "Schrijft het kind zelfs?").
Het kind schrijft zelfs!
Among all skills or activities of the child is also writing, which is astonishing (in which case the emphasis is on 'schrijft': "Het kind schrijft zelfs!"), or among all the writing people there is also this exceptional child (in which case the emphasis is on 'kind': "Het kind schrijft zelfs!").
(Notice that all the incorrect permutations are "Zelfs schrijft het kind." and "Het kind zelfs schrijft.")
Everywhere emphasis marks can be replaced by full stops.
I hope this helps a bit.
Great answer! My question about "Zelfs het kind schrijft" is that the English translation given is "Even the child writes," but this does not match the sort of meaning you give. In English this means, "Most people write--indeed, this child himself writes." You can't say "even the child writes" in English without implying that most people (in whatever category you're speaking of) do too, and that you're marking out the child as an example of it. For instance, if talking about, say, the Jones family, where Mr. Jones is a journalist and Mrs. Jones is a novelist, and their child consequently is a budding storyteller, one might say, "The Jones' are such a literary family. Even the child writes!"
Does this match "Zelfs het kind schrijft"? Because from your description, it sounds like a better, if still imperfect, translation would be "The child even writes," that is, among the other (varied or remarkable) things the child does, he writes.
So still no answer to this? I'm also confused whether there should be inversion...
"zelfs" is part of the subject. So there is no inversion, and it cannot be separated from "het kind".