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Is the following sentence grammatically correct?

I don't like autumn to be honest, neither like I winter that's coming after it.

Can inversion be used in this way? Or does it requires auxiliary do?

I don't like autumn to be honest, neither do I like winter that's coming after it.

The meaning should be: I don't like autumn, I don't like winter.


Is inversion appropriate in this case? Or is it better to use the regular word order?

  1. I don't like autumn to be honest, and neither I like winter that's coming after it.
  2. I don't like autumn to be honest, and I like winter that's coming after it either.

Which of the two is preferable?

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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Your sentence doesn't say what you want it to say, so before answering the question, I'll have to rewrite it in idiomatic English:

I don't like autumn, to be honest, nor do I like the winter that comes after it.

One problem is that prepositional phrase "to be honest", which describes your feeling in my rewrite (I've added a comma to make the phrase parenthetical and to prevent the reader from believing that it's supposed to modify "autumn") but modifies "autumn" in your sentence and means "I don't like it when autumn is honest", a meaningless (unless metaphorical and poetic) statement. The other problem is that "neither" should probably be "nor", but both are possible with different punctuation.

To invert the subject and verb without adding "do" is not natural English:

*I don't like autumn, to be honest, nor like I (the) winter that comes after it.
*I don't like autumn, to be honest; neither like I (the) winter that comes after it.

Idiomatic English would be:

I don't like autumn, to be honest, nor do I like the winter that comes after it.
I don't like autumn, to be honest; neither do I like the winter that comes after it.

or

To be honest, I don't like autumn, nor do I like the winter that comes after it.
To be honest, I don't like autumn; neither do I like the winter that comes after it.

It isn't just a matter of grammar. Style demands parallel structure here. Perhaps in German it's possible to invert the subject and verb, but English grammar has changed significantly since it might have been possible to do that more than 1000 years ago.

Google translate gave me this for English => German:

*I don't like autumn, nor like I winter
Ich mag es nicht im Herbst, noch mag ich im Winter (But I'm not certain that this is real German, so I make no claims about it other than the subject and verb have been inverted).

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Your German sentence isn't fine. First, what you're saying is: "I don't like it in autumn, nor do I like it in winter" and I would ask you: What do you not like? - Second, in the second part the es is missing (noch mag ich es im Winter). To translate the sentence correctly: "Ich mag nicht den Herbst, noch mag ich den Winter." –  Em1 Nov 26 '12 at 8:50
    
@Em1: Thank you for the corrections. Google translate isn't perfect, I know, & it's been decades since I studied German, but it didn't look right to me. You've verified that it's acceptable in German to invert the subject & verb in the second sentence, though. That's great. I was sure that that was possible. In English, "I don't like it in winter" simply means "I don't like winter" or "I don't like the weather in winter" or "I don't like anything about winter". "It" is a vague placeholder & standard but sloppy & maybe marginally acceptable spoken American English. –  user21497 Nov 26 '12 at 9:08
    
@BillFranke Yes, the subject in German takes the first place or the third place when there's adverbial modifier at the first place. The original phrase is in Russian which does not impose a particular word order at all. And I also thought “to be honest” has to be separated from autumn, or placed in the beginning of the sentence. –  Alexey Ivanov Nov 26 '12 at 10:03
    
@Bill Franke: "Style demands parallel structure here." Why? Since when does style demand anything? If OP wants to speak like Yoda and he gets the grammar in line, isn't he making a stylistic choice? –  tylerharms Nov 26 '12 at 11:52
2  
"Why?" Parallel structure is usually good style in English. "Since when...?" Since people began choosing leaders based on their speaking ability. "If OP wants to speak like YODA ... isn't he making a choice?" I don't think he wants to speak like Yoda. Were he that indiscriminate, he wouldn't've asked the question he asked. And he's not trying to impress anyone with politically correct pieties that deny human nature & the ubiquity & inexorability of human judgments about everybody else's style choices. –  user21497 Nov 26 '12 at 14:50
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The only sentence of the three that is even remotely grammatical is I don't like autumn to be honest, neither do I like winter that's coming after it.

A native speaker would express the thought as something like I don't like autumn to be honest, and I don’t like the winter that follows it either. Even more natural would be Autumn’s not my favourite season to be honest, and I can’t say I care much for winter either.

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I accepted the other answer because it provides explanations on the usage of inversion and other grammar points. At the same time, the author of the original sentence in the question was astonished by your last example. –  Alexey Ivanov Dec 3 '12 at 7:04
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