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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 was to avoid bad publicity should his error be discovered, then . . .
2. If the reason was his error be discovered to avoid bad publicity, then . . .

If not, how should I interpret the first sentence?

Thanks.

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    No. It is not. "(If the reason was (to avoid bad publicity should his error be discovered,)) (then ... )" – Kris Dec 4 '14 at 13:07
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The sentences are not equivalent in meaning. That is, the first makes sense, the second doesn't.

Probably your confusion lies in the word should. Here it means if. I would expand it like this:

If the reason was to avoid bad publicity [if] his error [were to] be discovered, then . . .

  • Then is it like this? The first if clause doesn't have inversion form whereas the second one has inversion form? I heard that "Should it be wrong." is equivalent to "If it should be wrong." – hjjg200 Dec 4 '14 at 14:59
  • As I said in the answer, "should" sometimes indicates a conditional. It's not an inversion. "Should you go to the zoo, don't forget to look at the bears" means "If you go to the zoo, don't forget to look at the bears." The second sentence I ignored because it is at best awkward and at worst doesn't make any sense at all. – Robusto Dec 4 '14 at 15:14
  • http://www.testmagic.com/Knowledge_Base/lists/grammar/inversion.htm Here the eighth rule. Grammatically, wouldn't it be an inversion? – hjjg200 Dec 4 '14 at 15:31

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