Inversion of the verb after certain adverbs
In this article, we're going to have a look at inversion that sometimes takes place with certain adverbs and adverb phrases, mostly with a negative or restrictive sense. Such adverbs (adverb phrases) can be placed first in a sentence or clause for emphasis. They are then followed by the interrogative (i.e. inverted ) form of the verb.
The most important of these adverbs include:
- hardly ever
- scarcely ever
- only by
- in no circumstances
- only in this way on no account
- hardly . . . when
- only then/when no sooner . . . than
- scarcely . . . when
- not only
- not till
Examples of how to use them:
- I had never before been to lie. =
Never before had I been asked to lie.
- a) / haven't got any money.
b) Neither/Nor have I.
- They not only rob you, they smash everything too. =
Not only do they rob you, they smash everything too.
- She became so depressed that. . . =
So sepressed did she become that. . .
- This switch must not be touched on any account. =
On no account must this switch be touched.
- Mike didn't realize how difficult how situation was till he received the letter. =
Not till he received the letter did he realize how difficult his situation was.
Also note that a second negative verb in a sentence can sometimes be expressed by nor with inversion:
- She had no friends and didn't know anyone who could help her. =
She had no friends, nor did she know anyone who could help her.
You can now check your understading here.