Questions about word-order inversion, e.g. in negative statements or questions.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

26
votes
6answers
3k 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
32k 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?
11
votes
5answers
1k views

Till death do WE part [closed]

I understand the meaning of "till death do us part". I even understood why do is not does. However, in the song Love Spent by Madonna, the following lyrics occur: You played with my heart Till ...
10
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
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 ...
9
votes
1answer
177 views

When can I use “Only do …” vs. when must I use “Only …” without the “do”?

I'm writing a scientific paper and my supervisor (who is non-native speaker, whereas I am a native speaker) asked me to change this construct: Only do males have a y chromosome. to Only ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Inversion + past tense

There is a sentence: No sooner had he sat down than he fell asleep. I just do not understand, is this an inversion? And if so, I still do not understand the sentence.
6
votes
1answer
760 views

Inversion in English

Is it correct to invert the subordinate sentence in English? For instance: When the time comes, so shall we reign the land! If it is correct, what is the rule? Or is it only in old English?
5
votes
4answers
1k 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
5answers
4k 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. ...
5
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
398 views

Is “supply” the inverse of “apply”?

We can say "The add function is applied to values 1 and 2". Can we say equivalently "The values 1 and 2 are supplied to the add function"?
5
votes
1answer
281 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
89 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
8k 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? ...
5
votes
2answers
303 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
129 views

Use of Inversion : Adverbial phrase

I'm from Korea, a non-English speaking country. I recently had my mid-term on English. In the test, there was a question asking us to put words in order and make them into a full sentence. The ...
4
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do we invert word order when asking a question?

What's the difference between an inverted question and a normal-order question? Why invert? Is there a reason or a benefit? I love you? Do I love you?
4
votes
5answers
661 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
788 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
277 views

What grammar is used in “are there” for not a question & “is a compromise view” without a subject?

I have found 2 sentences in a law book, but I cannot figure out what grammar rules are used in them. Please advise. 1.) In no state, however, are there [what rule, why such order of the words?] ...
4
votes
2answers
584 views

Correctness of questions without inversion, relying on intonation

I hear and read them all the time. I mean stuff like: You're just going to stay here? Instead of: Are you just going to stay here? Then I write like this out of habit and get called out ...
4
votes
2answers
214 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
530 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
271 views

Why was inversion used in the following context?

There are many such problems for which a greedy approach provides an optimal solution much more quickly than would a dynamic-programming approach. This is from Page 321, Introduction to ...
3
votes
2answers
205 views

Why does this sentence seem to me to have an adverb for a subject? [closed]

At the bottom of the device is a microphone and a microUSB port for data connections and charging (Source) At the bottom of the device is an adverb of place. Why is the subject of the sentence an ...
3
votes
3answers
217 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
497 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
107 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', ...
3
votes
1answer
431 views

How to use “extraordinaire” in English?

I’d like to include the following phrase in my children’s book: with trumpets and fanfares extraordinaire I don’t know whether it should instead be with trumpets and fanfares ...
3
votes
1answer
102 views

“There is the man.” Is *there* an adverb or pronoun?

According to Dictionary.com there adverb in or at that place (opposed to here ): She is there now. pronoun (used to introduce a sentence or clause in which ...
3
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
305 views

“He said, X” vs. “X, he said” vs. “X, said he”

I’ve long wondered how in reported speech, what sort of change in nuance is produced by switching around the normal order of the subject (that is, the speaker) and the “speech-related” verb (such as ...
3
votes
1answer
265 views

Use of “did” in an affirmative sentence before subject [duplicate]

I wrote the following sentence in an article: Only in June it created repositories. The editor corrected me: Only in June did it create repositories. What's the explanation for "did" in ...
3
votes
1answer
111 views

Fronted adjuncts

Is it correct to begin sentences with adjuncts? To which degree are the sentences below acceptable? Do you need a special context to license this word order, or can you start a text with these ...
3
votes
3answers
163 views

“there was” versus “was”

In a Lynda.com tutorial I came across such a sentence: "In camera uploads (folder) are all the photos that I had in my iPad". Instead, I would have probably said: "In camera uploads there are ...." Is ...
2
votes
2answers
713 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 ...
2
votes
6answers
1k views

“Sure I am not” — is that valid English?

Consider this conversation: — Iceland has more than 200 rainy days per year. — Are you sure? — No, I am not sure. Is it valid or wrong English to say, — No, sure I am not. ...in the ...
2
votes
3answers
609 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
422 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
749 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
81 views

What kind of inversion is this? “Out come the pocket calculators”

Please help me understand the grammar of this sentence: When the girls get their bills, out come the pocket calculators. What connotations does this inversion add? Can "out come" here be ...
2
votes
2answers
271 views

Proper use of “what's”

I've seen people write a sentence like this: Example A: "I'm often asked what's the story behind my work." To me, it just seems that this reads rather poorly. I feel like it should be written as: ...
2
votes
2answers
461 views

Not always + inversion? [closed]

My neighbour's little son (they are from UK) asked me for something, saying that he wants it and hence he will get. I realized I do not know how to say that correctly (for the first one I used ...
2
votes
2answers
358 views

“What / who do think…” structure

Here's a list of examples I've seen: What do you think happened? Who do you think has killed him? Who do you think he killed? How does this structure what/who do you think... ...
2
votes
1answer
63 views

Inverse of dependency

In a project management context where A and B would be tasks, if A needs B, then B is a dependency of A. Is there a word to describe what A is to B? As @KateGregory put it, I want to replace "we need ...
2
votes
2answers
151 views

Word order in question with very long subject

The normal word order for a wh- question in English is: wh- + auxiliary + subject + verb. Hence the sentence below should be correct: What might the consequences of the loss of diversity of plant ...