Inversion - Verb Before Subject

Inversion - Verb Before Subject

Interrogatives in any tense

Does she swim well?

Can you sleep in a tent?

Where does she play tennis?


Partial inversion

subject, expressed by a noun, and verb are replaced if there is an adverb of place NOT MOVEMENT at the beginning of a sentence.

Here is your key.

Here comes the bus.

There goes the bell.

Round the corner stood the stranger.

Under the table sat the child.

Beyond the house lay open fields


There is no replacement if subject is a pronoun

Here you are.

There it is.

Beyond the house, it lay.

Here it comes.


Full inversion

An interrogative order in affirmatives if there is an emphatic negative adverb or adverb phrases at the beginning of a sentence.

I had hardly lit a cigarette as the wind blew it out of my hands.

Hardly had I lit a cigarette as the wind blew it out of my hands.


He had scarcely shaken our hands when the phone rang. 

Scarcely had he shaken our hands when the phone rang.


I barely believe you. 

Barely do I believe you.


We had no sooner arrived home than the police rang the doorbell.

No sooner had we arrived home than the police rang the doorbell.


I have never been so tired. 

Never have I been so tired.


I rarely overspeed. 

Rarely do I overspeed.


He seldom gives interviews.

Seldom does he give interviews.


I understood only then what had happened. 

Only then did I understand what had happened.


He does not only lie but he also betrays friends. 

Not only does he lie but he also betrays friends.


She realized only later how much damage had been caused. 

Only later did she realized how much damage had been caused.


I have nowhere had such bad service. 

Nowhere have I had such bad service.


I trust you little

Little do I trust you.


The company should be informed at no time

At no time should the company be informed.


She tried not once to contact her daughter. 

Not once did she try to contact her daughter.


Her tattered clothes in no way detracted from her beauty.

In no way did her tattered clothes detract from her beauty.


You can you get rid of your nightmares only in this way

Only in this way can you get rid of your nightmares.


You can hope to outguess him only by being him. 

Only by being him can you hope to outguess him.


The house should be left unlocked on no account

On no account should the house be left unlocked.


Police should under no circumstances use violence.

Under no circumstances should police use violence.


He ran so quickly that the others couldn't catch up with him. 

So quickly didhe runthat the others couldn't catch up with him.


The wind was such that we couldn't open the window.

Such wasthe wind that we couldn't open the window.


Inversion is obligatory

I hate snakes. I can’t even look at a picture of a snake. — Neither / Nor can I.

I do believe him. — So do I.

He did not ask anything, nor did she say anything.

Should you change your mind about selling the car, I'd be happy to buy it from you.

Were you to leave the country where would you go?


Main Clause Inversion

  • Not til/until
  • Not since
  • Only when
  • Only after

+ Subject + Predicate + Inverted Subordinate Verb


You can not go outside until you finish your homework. 

Not until you finish your homework can you go outside.


She has not been anywhere since she got married. 

Not since she got married has she been anywhere.



He will call me only when he needs some help. 

Only when he needs some help will he call me.


We shall continue our conversation only after you have apologized.

Only after you have apologized shall we continue our conversation.


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