You are on page 1of 19

INVERSION OF ORDER

 Inversion.

• The term inversion covers two different grammatical operations:

1) Using a question form of the main verb.

• Not only did he fail to report the accident, but also later denied that he had been
driving the car.
• Never have I enjoyed myself more!

2) Changing the normal positions of verb and subject.

• Along the street came a strange procession.

 Inversion after negative adverbials.

1) This only occurs when the adverbial occurs at the beginning of a clause. All the
examples below are used in formal language, usually for rhetorical effect, such as in
political speeches. They are not usual in everyday spoken language.

• Never have I heard a weaker excuse!

1

2) Time expressions never. 2 . barely. • No sooner was the team back on the pitch than it started to rain. • Rarely had I had so much responsibility. Note the words used in the contrasting clause. • Hardly had the train left the station. These are most commonly used with present perfect or past perfect. They are usually used with past perfect. rarely. These refer to an event which quickly follows another in the past. no sooner. • Seldom has the team given a worse performance. or with modals such as can and could. • No sooner had I reached the door than I realised it was locked. seldom. although no sooner can be followed by simple past. 3) Time expressions: hardly. scarcely. • Scarcely had I entered the room when the phone rang. Sentences of this type often contain comparatives. when there was an explosion. • Rarely can a minister have been faced with such a problem.

on no account. 5) Other examples are only if/when. on no condition. Little also has a negative or restrictive meaning in this sense. 3 . Note that when only refers to the state of being only one. only then. in no way. • Only after posting the letter did I remember that I had forgotten to put on a stamp. at no time. • Little does the government appreciate what the results will be. • On no condition are they to open fire without a warning. • Not until I got home did I notice that I had the wrong umbrella. 6) Phrases containing no/not. not only…but also. • Only Mary realised that the door was not locked. Here only combines with other time expressions and is usually used with simple past. 7) Little. only later. Note that the inverted verb is the verb describing the event limited by the negative adverbial. not until. These include under no circumstances.4) After only. there is no inversion following it.

• If I had known. Three types of If. • Were they to escape. he will have to be punished. he will have to be punished. • Such was the force of the storm that trees were uprooted. This occurs with so and adjectives when the main verb is be. This makes the sentences more formal and makes the event less likely. let me know. • If they were to escape. 4 . there would be an outcry. there would be an outcry. • If the police has found out. let me know. 10) Inverted conditional sentences without If-. • If you should hear anything. I would have protested strongly.sentence can be inverted without If-. • Should he have cheated.8) Inversion after so/such with that. 9) Such used with be means so much/so great. • Had I known. I would have been in trouble. It is used for emphasis. • If he has cheated. I would have been in trouble. • So devastating were the floods that some areas may never recover. • Should you hear anything. I would have protested strongly. • Were the police to have found out.

neither and nor. that the recession would soon be over. – Neither/Nor do I. • . 5 . • We were short of money. – So am I. • I thought.11) Inversion after as. agreeing or disagreeing.I don’t like meat. as were most people in our neighbourhood. as did my colleagues.I am going home. These are used in “echoing statements. 12) Inversion after so. • . This is more common in formal or written language.

Such…………………………………………………………………………. starting as shown.  If I had realised what would happen. could you ask her to call me? Should………………………………………………………………………. In…………………………………………………………………………… 6 . so that the meaning stays the same. Not until………………………………………………………………………  The facts were not all made public until later...  It was only when the office phoned me that I found out about the meeting. Little………………………………………………………………………….  The bus driver cannot be blamed for the accident in any way.  If you do happen to see Helen..... Only…………………………………………………………………………. Not only………………………………………………………………………  The police didn’t at all suspect that the judge was the murderer. Had……………………………………………………………………………  The response to our appeal was so great that we had to take on more staff. Inversion of Order  Rewrite each sentence.. I wouldn’t have accepted the job. and also injured his shoulder.  Harry broke his leg.

.than I realised I’d left my bag on the platform..  Complete each sentence with a suitable word or phrase. Were………………………………………………………………………….below freezing at this time of the year. • Hardly …………………………………………his speech. 7 . The snowfall was so heavy that all the trains had to be cancelled. • Not until I asked a passer-by ………………………………. • In no way …………………………. So……………………………………………………………………………. • Scarcely ……………………………………………the pilot had to make an emergency landing.this school written a better composition.where I was. • Little …………………………………………………what has been going on in his absence. • On no account am ………………………………………while I am in a meeting. when the minister was interrupted. • Seldom does ……………………………………. • Only when ……………………………………………on the light did we notice the hole in the ceiling..  If the government raised interest rates.. • Rarely has ………………………………………. they would lose the election. • No sooner ……………………………….bear responsibility for injuries to passengers.

. (At no time) ……………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………. (Only) ……………………………………………………………………. Rewrite each sentence so that it contains the word(s) in capitals. ……………………………………………………………………………. • You won’t be allowed in until your identity has been checked. • The accused never expressed regret for what he had done.……… • There was so much uncertainty that the financial markets remained closed.. • So exhausted were the runners that none of them finished the race. and so that the meaning stays the same. • As soon as I got into the bath. (Did I)……………………………………………………………………........ • It was only when I stopped that I realised something was wrong. (If) …………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………. someone knocked at the door.... (Such) …………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………. • They would have discovered land sooner had they carried a compass. (No sooner) ………………………………………………………………. …………………………………………………………….. 8 . (Too) …………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………. ……………………………………………………………………………. • The judge fell ill just after the trial proceedings began. (Barely) …………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………….

everyone in it would have been killed.harder. and order a meal.. • Should …………………………………………………………anything.immediately. • Were ……………………………………………... • Should ……………………………………………………neighbourhood. 9 . could you let me know? • Were …………………………………………………………………. Complete each sentence with a suitable word or phrase. your daughter would not be so ill. • Were ……………………………………………………job. I would turn you down flat! • Should ………………………………………………………….you. • Had ……………………………………………. I would probably have passed all my exams. we would have heard from him by now. • Had …………………………………………………measures. why don’t you drop in? • Had …………………………………………………. • Should ……………………………………………lost. just call room service. we couldn’t be sure that she should accept. this political crisis could have been avoided.

and are often put first because the time reference is important.  Suddenly down came the rain!  Up into the air went the balloon.  Changing word order to change focus.  I don’t know where the money is coming from. Fronting & Inversion. Inversion here refers to changing the normal word order in the sentence so that a prepositional phrase is emphasised before the verb. This also involves putting the verb before the subject.  Fronting involves changing the order of clauses in a sentence and putting first for emphasis a clause that would usually not be first. Passive constructions vary the way information is given in a sentence. 1. putting more emphasis on what comes first. EMPHASIS • EXPLANATIONS.  Where the money is coming from. Passive.  All roads to the north have been blocked by snow. 10 . 2.  Time phrases can vary in position. I don’t know.

These are common with verbs such as need. These are sentences introduced by it is / it was or by a clause beginning what. stress and intonation also identify the emphasis. like.  It was Sue who borrowed my bike.  May clauses. It is a highly formal expression.  What clauses.  It was because I felt ill that I left.  Difficult as/though it may seem/be.  I hate rainy weather. Different parts of the sentence can be emphasised in this way. it is not impossible.  Modal auxiliaries are also possible.  It was my bike that Sue borrowed. In speech. want.  Sentences with because are also possible.  You need a holiday.  At six o’clock Monica decided to phone the police. hate. Cleft and pseudo cleft sentences. 11 .  Although it may seem/be difficult.  What you need is a holiday. There is a type of “May” clause introduced by although which can be inverted.  Sue borrowed my bike last night.  It can’t have been the same book that you read.  What I hate is rainy weather.  You can’t have read the same book.  It was last night that Sue borrowed my bike. it is not impossible. 3.

 All I need is another $15. It was not cold at all. No and none can be emphasised by at all and whatsoever. 2. Very & indeed.  It was not at all cold.  I only need another $15.  It was very cold indeed. This intensifies possessive adjectives. Ways of emphasising not include: at all.  What they are doing is destroying the environment. really.  What Peter did was (to) leave the windows unlocked. In the least/slightest usually adds bit if used before an adjective.  Adding words for emphasis. “Very” can be used emphatically to mean “exactly/precisely”.  I wasn’t the least bit interested. 1. the telephone rang.  Peter left the windows unlocked. in the least. Emphasising negatives.  It was my own idea. “Very……indeed” is another way of intensifying adjectives.  Clauses beginning all emphasise “the only thing”.  There were none left at all.  It is also possible to emphasise events using auxiliaries do/does.  There were no tickets left whatsoever. Own.  I wasn’t interested in the slightest. 3.  They are destroying the environment. 12 .  At the very same moment.

4.  Whatever are you doing! Whoever told you that! 6. 13 . It is also used in polite forms. Echoing phrases with “So”.  Some people were even wearing pullovers. Time phrases. There is a large number of adverbs and adjectives used to add emphasis.  It is by no means certain that the match will take place. It is heavily stressed in speech.  Surely you are not the Elizabeth Taylor. Common examples are: day after day. it was so cold!  Her performance was sheer magic!  This book is utter nonsense! 8.This is the book you are looking for. day out. This can emphasise the verb. The can emphasise uniqueness.  .  I do like this film!  I do hope you will come! Do sit down! 7. – So it is!  Other means. Adverbs and adjectives. These add an air of disbelief to the question. are you? 5. and is stressed in speech. These express agreement. Question words ending in –ever. Common examples are:  I actually went inside one of the Pyramids. day in. over and over again. time and time again. Auxiliary “Do”. 1. The.

WHAT 3. The car doesn’t need anything else except new tyres. I felt extremely tired. Brenda didn’t worry at all about her exams. 1. AFTER 2. but it was no use. The bad weather continued for days. Repetition of main verb. ALL 4.  David reads the same book over and over again! 2. Keith told me about the hotel. 3. and so that the meaning stays the same.  I tried and tried. INDEED 6. In the repetition of a phrase with a possessive it is possible to omit the first mention of the noun and use a possessive pronoun.  Theirs was a successful marriage. LEAST 5. I can’t stand getting up early. Activities:  Rewrite each sentence so that it contains the word in capitals.  Their marriage was a successful marriage. WHO 14 .

7. SHEER 14. SIMPLY. so that the meaning stays the same. The calculator I’ve got doesn’t need a battery. OWN 13.  Rewrite each sentence. What on earth are you doing here at this time? WHATEVER 19. I had spent all my money. AFTER 17. Actually. Please stay longer. It did nothing but rain for days. That’s exactly the same book I’m reading! VERY 8. You did something that was wrong. beginning as shown. QUITE 20. WHATSOVER 11. JUST 10. 15 . WHAT 15. The accident was caused because someone was very careless. It was a really awful film. I like cheese best for breakfast. you are not right at all. I can’t make any sense of this! UTTER 18. ALL 16. WHAT 12. DO 9. It’s very important for me to know the answer. I seem to want to do nothing but sleep.

Hers…………………………………………………………………. 9. The parcel finally arrived on Wednesday. A: That looks like Janet. It……………………………………………………………………. It was because……………………………………………………….. Expensive…………………………………………………………… 3. It……………………………………………………………………. I bought it because it was a bargain. 7.. it is good value for money. Although the ticket may seem expensive. Her car was the last car we expected to be stolen. 8. It’s your ……………. Every day. 2. Why ever……………………………………………………………. it’s the same old routine in my job. I don’t know who is going to pay for the damage. I really can’t stand lukewarm food. 1. What………………………………………………………………… 5. fault. In the end Martha went to the police. I don’t understand why you left that job in London. isn’t it? 2. You can’t complain.. 10.. Day…………………………………………………………………..  Complete each sentence with one suitable word. 6.it is! My goodness. 1. hasn’t she changed? 16 . I think you must have seen a ghost. Who…………………………………………………………………. What………………………………………………………………… 4. B: …………….

6.had to take a nap. Cathy wasn’t in the……………………put out when I couldn’t make it to her wedding. 5.  Choose the most suitable word or phrase given.. I expected to receive three letters. 7. I searched and ………………………for my keys but I couldn’t find them. I………………. I was so tired I …………………. (simply/utterly/quite/by no means) 3. (all/completely/whatsoever/utterly) 2. It’s by no…………………. ………………….. …………………………we’ve got is some leftovers. Where did you get them? (would/do/utterly/just) 17 . it’s a/an………………….hope you haven’t been long. I …………………. What the government then ……………………was to raise interest rates.like your new shoes. If you ask me.certain that the PM will attend the meeting. 4. (at all/just/absolutely/very) 6. 3. (sheer/absolutely/very/really) 5. 9. It’s the……………………thing I’m looking for.. (just/quite/sheer/very) 4. There isn’t much to eat.what I expected. I’ll take this tie. but none………………. I’m so sorry to keep you waiting. 1. I really enjoy in winter is a bowl of hot soup. ……………………you are all going to sleep I can’t quite work out! 8. 10.arrived.waste of time. Helen’s new boyfriend is not………………….

(quite/utterly/simply/even) 10. 18 . 6. 8. I don’t have a car. might I ask? (actually/just/whatsoever/whatever) 8. At no time I was aware/was I aware of anything out of the usual. 7. Paul…………………had the nerve to blame me for the whole mess! (quite/simply/actually/really) 9. I can’t……………….drive. Hardly had we settled down in our seats than/when the lights went out. So the waves were high/so high were the waves that swimming was dangerous. Not until it was too late I remembered/did I remember to call Susan.. Jim promised that he would never/never would he tell anyone else. Only after checking three times I was/was I certain of the answer. 1. If should you leave early/should you leave early could you give me a lift?  Complete each sentence with a suitable word or phrase. 5. 9. ……………………………do you think you are doing. Only when Pete has arrived/has Pete arrived can we begin the programme. 10. No sooner had it stopped raining than/when the sun came out. No. I……………………. 2. Only Catherine and Sally passed/did they pass the final examination.had to tell you the news! I’m expecting a baby! (just/did/utterly/quite)  More practice!!  Choose the most suitable words underlined. 3. 7. 4.

had we arrived at the hotel. It was because/why the car broke down that we missed our plane. I would like to make it quite/simply clear that we are just good friends. 3. 7. when there was a power cut. This is my very private/very own computer. than another three disappeared. 10. 9. as…………………most people. The sea was so rough that actually/even the experienced sailors were seasick. Whatever/Why ever are you looking at me like that for? 7. I supposed. 10.So am I/ So I am! 5. ………………………. 2.so many employees taken sick leave at the same time. 8. ……………………. there would be a ten per cent discount. …………………………. – You are sitting on my hat! . …………………. ………………………. 6. 8. 9. 5. On this course. but she was also offered a promotion. 3. ………………………Detective Dawson realise what she was to discover! 4. but nothing whatsoever/nothing simply was done. ……………………one missing child been found. 1. ……………………….the doctors seen a more difficult case. we absolutely expect/do expect you to work hard. 1. I thought that speech was utter/utterly rubbish. There were warnings.to pay the full amount now. that I would be retiring at 60. I’m none at all tired/not at all tired.Jean win first prize.will late arrivals be admitted to the theatre before the interval. 4.  Choose the most appropriate word or words underlined.. 19 . ………………………are members of staff to accept gratuities from clients. 2. 6.. Don’t worry.