Questions about reversing the order of a clause’s subject and verb, including subject–auxiliary inversion in questions and normal subject–verb swap in locative, directive, copular, and quotative inversions.

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11
votes
2answers
6k views

Inversion in “only [adverb] have they”

I have seen this construction quite often: Online ads have been around since the dawn of the Web, but only in recent years have they become the rapturous life dream of Silicon Valley. What ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

Changing subject and verb positions in statements and questions

We always change subject and verb positions in whenever we want to ask a question such as "What is your name?". But when it comes to statements like the following, which form is correct? I don'...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

Subject-auxiliary inversions not associated with questions [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Inversion in “only [adverb] have they” Is there some rule governing the following, or similar, subject-auxiliary inversions (*"Rarely they do see the light of day", *"Never ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

“Let's see how can we do this”?

I'm reading the C++ boost library and the following sentence drew my attention: Once the two steps have been successfully completed, the process can start writing to and reading from the address ...
5
votes
1answer
14k views

Question tags — “did you” vs. “didn't you”

Typically, when we ask for confirmation/denial of a statement, we say something like the following: We turn left here, don't we? You have a cat, don't you? We've met before, haven't we? ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

What does “would not have been possible had I remained” mean?

What does this mean? I am sure this would not have been possible had I remained a typical Anglophone North American. I have never heard that before and I really find it strange. I deduce that ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

How do I determine subject and subject complement in “A side-effect is the spread of commercialese to other domains.”?

Consider this example: Commercialese is an instrument of art, designed to enrich and invigorate our language—surely you will all agree with this—, and we should encourage newcomers to learn ...
-1
votes
2answers
10k views

“Be them” or “be they”? [closed]

Which of the following is grammatical? He had lollies be they red or blue? He had lollies be them red or blue? It seems as if it could be them as an object of be.
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Why do some questions not start with an auxiliary verb?

When I learned English, my teachers told me that all questions must have an auxiliary verb at the beginning, just like Are you mad? or Is she playing? do. But when watching some movies or talking ...
5
votes
1answer
475 views

Where does the verb go on this question? Is it even a reported question?

I understand that when I report a question, I put the subject back in front of the verb, as in: "He asked if she was going to be late." But I always get puzzled when it comes to reporting a question ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

The use of "were- should- had” at the beginning of sentences instead of “if”

Conditionals in English are usually formed by using if with normal word order; but for the three past (subjunctive) forms were, should, and had, it is also possible to express the conditional through ...
2
votes
2answers
826 views

Reason for Subject-Verb Inversion: Only in cases where A is B, shall the Company do X [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Sentences using: [something] + have + they subject-auxiliary inversions not associated with questions In the following, why does subject-verb inversion occur? Is it ...
5
votes
2answers
6k views

Inversion in “Only when the virus introduces its nucleic acid into a cell does disease occur”

Given this sentence, Disease occurs only when the virus introduces its nucleic acid into a cell. Is the following inversion grammatical? → Only when the virus introduces its nucleic acid ...
2
votes
2answers
938 views

Position of verb for object clause

Is the general word order of this sentence correct? We investigate how strong the effect of X on Y is. Or, as an alternative, We investigate how strong the effect of X is on Y. In a ...
1
vote
2answers
3k views

What does “should something happen” mean?

What is the meaning of should loss occur in the following text? Backup and recovery procedures protect your database against data loss and reconstruct the data, should loss occur. The ...
8
votes
8answers
7k views

Why put the verb before the subject?

The opening sentence to The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien reads, In a hole in the ground there lived [verb] a hobbit [subject]. I wonder if there are accepted stylistic purposes for such a structure. ...
3
votes
3answers
241 views

A word for being troubled at others' potential schadenfreude against me

Schadenfreude is "enjoyment obtained from the trouble of others." I'm not looking for the antonym of that, but instead if there is a similar word for the object of schadenfreude. For instance, is ...
1
vote
2answers
595 views

Inverted conditional sentence using 'can' and 'will'

On this page in Wikipedia!, it states for first conditional sentences: The condition can also be expressed using the modal verb should. This form can be used to make an inverted condition ...
1
vote
2answers
10k views

“Where am I?” vs. “Where I am?” [closed]

Which is more correct to say in a question? (For example a guy that wakes up in a train) "Where am I?" or "Where I am?"
5
votes
3answers
476 views

“Here he comes”, “Here comes he” : The order of pronoun and verb in inversion

It's very common to say: "Here he comes." "Here comes the man." But what about: "Here comes he." "Here the man comes." Is there a rule about the order of noun and verb in ...
4
votes
2answers
958 views

Inversion with intro adverbial

Looking into inversion, I found a website listing different types of inversion, but I can't understand intro adverbial. The website says that inversions in this case are optional, and gives the ...
1
vote
2answers
490 views

Inversion after “than”/“as”

I'd like to know (1) which of the following is the most natural and (2) whether any of the following is unnatural or ungrammatical: (A) My system is no more expensive than yours would be. (B) My ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Inversion with “many times” at the beginning of a sentence

I am having a discussion with my friend. I said, "Many times I have seen him washing his car." He says it should be, "Many times have I seen him washing his car. Much like "Often do I see him", and ...
2
votes
3answers
996 views

“Tell me why I should marry you” or “Tell me why should I marry you?”. Which is correct? [duplicate]

I have always followed the former rule, i.e, "Tell me why I should marry you" (without a question mark). But my cousin insists the latter is correct. He seems equally confident that he is correct. So ...
0
votes
1answer
73 views

Is this an inversion? To V should S be . .

As always, while reading through I found a sentence whose structure confused me. What I want to know is whether the first sentence is the inversion form of the second sentence. 1. If the reason ...
27
votes
6answers
5k views

How is “Can anyone tell me how can I solve this” wrong?

I posted a question somewhere that said... Can anyone tell me how I can solve this? ...but someone edited it to... Can anyone tell me how can I solve this? ...and it was accepted. That's ...
20
votes
6answers
41k views

Why do you say “so do I”?

Why is the order of the words in "so do I" or "nor do I" different from the normal order?
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Inversion by “only” in a passive sentence

I have searched for the grammar concerning inversion in passive voice, and my search was fruitless. I was wondering how to put "only" at the beginning of a passive sentence. For example: Only the ...
8
votes
6answers
676 views

What's the Subject in: 'And up here in the corner is me'

If two people are looking at a photo, and one of them pointing out the different people says: And up here in the corner is me. ... what is the Subject of the sentence? The phrase up here in ...
-1
votes
2answers
1k views

Inversion or no inversion after “only”?

Only now you can even get them on top of wrinkles. Only infrequently does it happen. As one of our members has said, inversion happens when a sentence starts with "only" and never otherwise. So ...
5
votes
2answers
381 views

Is this an inversion? If so, why would you use an inversion in this case?

Here's a quote from a CNN transcript, wherein a consumer psychologist says the following: "What is relatively new are shoppers turning on other shoppers." If "what is relatively new" were the subject,...
4
votes
5answers
840 views

Opposite/inverse of duplicate

What is a word that can function as the inverse of a duplicate question on Stack Exchange? I was looking, in the context of this question on meta, for such a word to distinguish the closed duplicate ...
3
votes
4answers
811 views

Omitting whether (if): Not sure if we can do this

I'm not sure if(or, whether) we can do it. Can this sentence be written in this way... I'm not sure can we do it. Can whether, or if, be omitted like that and still be understandable? Thanks.
3
votes
2answers
364 views

If/should… INVERSION FORM

Sentence: Don't worry, I've bought an extra ticket for the show should you decide to come at the last minute. In this sentence, is 'if you decided' also right (instead of 'should you decide', ...
2
votes
3answers
590 views

should one invert syntax for the verb “do” in a comparison?

Which sounds better: When Canadians do initiate conversations, they tend to be more reserved than Americans do. When Canadians do initiate conversations, they tend to be more reserved than do ...
1
vote
0answers
47 views

The verb “should” as a conjunction [duplicate]

Here is the phrase from Wikipedia: CFO Peter Klein has said that Microsoft has no alternate plan should its current mobile strategy fail. Another example: Should Microsoft’s tablet and phone ...
1
vote
2answers
94 views

“Not only … but also” —parallelism in a particular case

I have been looking around to find an answer to my question, but I was unable to find one that addressed my specific problem. I want to create the following sentence, but I'm not sure whether it's ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

''I don't know what" + direct object [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Changing subject and verb positions in statements and questions Why do we put the verb to be at the end of these questions? Is the expression I don't know what is an ...
0
votes
1answer
165 views

Conditional sentence without conditional conjunctions, is that possible?

Sometimes I hear sentences that sound conditional to me, just because of the (unassertive) ordering of the words. I don't know if I can come up with a proper example. Consider this: I'd be a ...
0
votes
1answer
471 views

“What is/are new here is/are …”

Original sentence: "What are new here are (1) XYZ and (2) PDQ." Correcting this sentence in a text and it just feels wrong. In order to make sure I change it correctly, I tried searching for: The ...
-1
votes
5answers
2k views

“Not once he would” vs. “not once would he”

Not being a native speaker and suffering semantic satiation from overthinking this, I'd like to ask this probably overly simple question. Not once would he... uses reversal for negation and ...