Inversion is used to give emphasis.
Common phrases are: not only, no sooner, ...
Inversion involves reversing the normal order of subject and verb. There are two types of inversion:
1- an auxiliary verb is placed before the subject, and the rest of the verb comes after:
Only yesterday did I realize what was going on.
2- the whole verb comes before the subject. This happens:
2.a) mainly after adverbial expressions of place (only for literary or descriptive writing)
On the big bed lay a young boy.
Under a tree was sitting one of the peasants.
Round the corner came the thief.
2.b) in literary or formal style after as (when the subjects are different):
France is a founder member of the EU. Belgium is a founder member too.
France is a founder member of the EU, as is Belgium.
2.c) after here and there in spoken English:
Here is your watch.
There comes a time in everyone’s life when a big decision has to be taken.
2.d) after direct speech (especially when the subject is not a pronoun):
“Let's go,” shouted the boy.
Inversion is common:
A- in ordinary spoken and written English in:
→ after: here, there, neither / nor and so.
→ to add dramatic effect in expressions such as:
Did you go climbing last weekend?
Here is your watch.
I opened the door and there stood Michael, all covered in mud.
I love bungee jumping. So do I.
The unions do not want a strike and neither / nor do the management.
No way would I ever go on a trip like that!
Not in a million years would I agree to cross Africa on a motorbike!
B- in written English or in a very formal spoken style of speaking (public speeches, for ex) in the following cases:
→ After expressions which have a negative or restrictive meaning when they are at the beginning of a sentence to give emphasis. These expressions are:
Little did she understand what the conversation was about.
- To express that one thing happened immediately after another:
Hardly had I arrived when I had a problem to cope with.
scarcely ... when
no sooner... than
No sooner had I arrived than I had a problem to cope with.
* We only use inversion when the adverb modifies the whole phrase and not when it modifies the noun:
Hardly anyone passed the exam. (No inversion)
- with seldom , rarely and never when used in comparisons:
Seldom had I seen such a remarkable creature.
Rarely could she have been faced with so difficult a choice.
Never have I felt better.
- with expressions containing the word only:
Only after a year did I begin to see the results.
Only then did he understand what she meant.
Only now do I see what you mean.
Only later did she really think about the situation.
Only by working extremely hard could we afford to eat.
Not only..., but (also)
Not only did we lose all our money, but we also came close to losing our lives.
- with expressions containing the word no or not:
At no time
At no time was the President aware of what was happening.
In no circumstances
In no circumstances can customers' money be refunded.
Under no circumstances
Under no circumstances can customers' money be refunded.
In no way
In no way can she be held responsible.
On no account
On no account are visitors allowed to feed the animals.
On no condition
On no condition will the company bear responsibility for lost property.
No longer will she accept these poor conditions.
Nowhere have I ever had such bad service.
Not since Lucy left college had she had such a wonderful time.
Not until I heard my name did I believe I had won the race.
→ After so, such, to such a degree (in result clauses) when they are at the beginning of a sentence:
She was so exhausted that she went straight to bed.
So exhausted was she that she went straight to bed.
He played the tune so badly that nobody recognised it.
So badly did he play the tune that nobody recognised it.
The extent of the damage was such that the car was a total write-off.
Such was the extent of the damage that the car was a total write-off.
→ in conditional sentences with the omission of if:
Should you change your mind, let us know.
Were she my daughter, I would suggest the following course of action.
Had I known what was going to happen, I would never have left her alone.
→ to express hopes and wishes starting with may:
May the force be with you!
transformation exercises and key.