INVERSION – English Study

INVERSION

1- Examples;

No-one should enter this room under/in any circumstances.
Under/In no circumstances should anyone enter this room.



She at no time told me who she was/She didn’t tell me who she was at any time.
At no time did she tell me who she was.
I have rarely seen such a beautiful butterfly.
Rarely have I seen such a beautiful butterfly.
I have never heard such a stupid thing.
Never have I heard such a stupid thing.
I did not witness the robbery, either.
Neither/Nor1 (less formal) did I witness the robbery.

When a sentence contains a negative word or expression, it is sometimes placed at the
beginning in formal English to give a more dramatic effect. However, the order of
the sentence is as though it were an interrogative sentence.

a We have seldom fished so much here. (Seldom…)
b They are in no way responsible for what occurred last night. (In no way…)
c You should not on any account take these pills when you drink alcohol. (On no account…)
d She not once offered us her help. (Not once…)
e I did not became aware of what was going on until I saw her weeping. (Not until…)

2- Examples:

It was only when my children arrived home safely that I felt relieved.
Only when my children arrived home safely did I feel relieved.
We did not know anything about what was going to happen to us next.
Little did we know about what was going to happen to us next.
I well remember when I saw her for the first time.
Well do I remember when I saw her for the first time.
I was so happy that I arranged a big party/My happines was such that I arranged a big
party.
So happy was I that I arranged a big party/Such4 was my happines that I arranged a big
party.
I waited for you to come back many times/many a time.
Many is the time (that5) I waited for you to come back/Many a time did I wait for you to
come back.
Notice that if we put some words or phrases at the beginning of the sentence, inversion is
required.
a She agreed to go out with him only when he bought her some flowers. (Only when…)
b We little realised the dangers that were awaiting us. (Little …)
c He was so tired that he slept for fourteen hours. (So tired …)
d My delight was such that I bought everybody a drink. (Such…)
e I love him to such an extent that I would even give my life for him. (To such an extent…)

3- Examples:

We had hardly/scarcely/barely6 started to watch the film when the light went off.
Hardly/Scarcely/Barely had we started to watch the film when the light went off.
I felt much better after I took a sachet of this medicine/I had no sooner taken a sachet of this
medicine than I felt much better.

No sooner had I taken a sachet of this medicine than I felt much better.
They had no sooner started the engine than the car exploded/Immediately they started the
engine, the car exploded.
No sooner had they started the engine than the car exploded.
I was no sooner informed of the facts than I took legal action/As soon as I was informed of
the facts, I took legal action.
No sooner was I informed of the facts than I took legal action.
As soon as he sees a pretty girl, he asks her to go out with him/He no sooner sees a pretty
girl than he asks her to go out with him.
No sooner does he see a pretty girl than he asks her to go out with him.
They not only took care of me, but (they) also7 treated me as if I were their own daughter.
Not only did they take care of me, but (they) also treated me as if I were their own daughter.
a They not only supply us with food, but also with drinks. (Not only…)
b We had no sooner eaten it than we had a terrible stomach-ache. (No sooner…)
c I had hardly gone to bed when the telephone rang. (Hardly…)
d She took him to the zoo and to the cinema as well. (Not only …)
e The cock crows as soon as the day breaks. (No sooner…)

4- Examples:

If you should need a sun protection cream, please tell me.
Should you need a sun protection cream, please tell me.
If I were you, I would try to fascinate her.
Were I you, I would try to fascinate her.
If they had confessed everything, they would have been expelled from school.
Had they confessed everything, they would have been expelled from school.
For details, see unit 24, section 14.
a If you should need a good make-up remover, please let me know. (Should…)
b If I were to win the first prize in the national lottery, I would no longer work. (Were…)
c If you hadn’t flooded the engine, it would have started at once. (Had you…)
d If my parents should need me, I will never let them down. (Should…)
e If I were in your place, I would try to be more assertive. (Were…)

5 Examples:

Peter goes up again.
Up goes Peter again. (But Up he goes again.)
The beautiful scenery I had been told about lay/was below me.
Below me lay/was the beautiful scenery I had been told about.
In the first case, we have a verb of movement. In the second, an intransitive verb or the verb
be is required. The inverted sentences give an emphatic effect, but they mean the same as the
non-inverted ones. Note that we do not use do, does or did with this type of inversion.

a My brother went off without saying a word. (Off…)
b He went off without saying a word. (Off…)
c Her toys were along the corridor. (Along the corridor…)
d The castle stands on a hill. (On a hill…)
e Your chance to speak out is now. (Now…)

6- Revision exercise.

a You shouldn’t in any way consider him as your worst enemy. (In no way…)
b You must on no account upset your parents. (On no account…)
c Mr and Mrs Adam live across the bridge. (Across the bridge…)
d I was so scared that I could not even scream. (So scared…)
e The horrific view of the massacre was in front of us. (In front of us…)
f The canyon lies behind those mountains. (Behind those mountains…)
g He only then became aware of the dangers of the jungle. (Only then…)
h She had scarcely begun to study when her boyfriend rang the bell. (Scarcely…)
i I won’t go trekking with him. (No way…)
j My terror was such that I couldn’t move. (Such…)
k I had no sooner switched on the dishwasher than it broke down. (No sooner…)
l As soon as he saw her, he fell in love with her. (No sooner …)
m If we had known that you were interested in buying the block of flats, we would have sold
it to you. (Had…)
n Your mother went down the road. (Down the road…)
o She went down the road. (Down the road…)
p This disease is common only in hot countries. (Only in hot countries…)
q You will never again9 have such an opportunity. (Never again …)
r We not only wrote to her many times, but telephone her twice, too. (Not only…)
s Immediately he learnt about his mother’s incurable disease, he cried his eyes out. (No
sooner…)
t We have both put aside some money and stocked up with a lot of groceries from the shop
next door. (Not only…)
u I did not use suntan lotion, either. (Neither…)
v The wood pigeon flew up. (Up…)
w If you should increase our wages, we will work overtime. (Should…)
x She had hardly taken everything out of the picnic basket when it began to rain. (Hardly…)
y If you were to buy a new car, which of these would you choose? (Were…)
z My humiliation was such that I did not know what to do. (Such …)

 

 

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