1

Can someone explain the structure of the following sentence?

  • It was not until hours later did I find him.

Does it have anything to do with emphasis ?

4

The sentence is not grammatical. It should either be

It was not until hours later that I found him.

or

Not until hours later did I find him.

This structure indeed emphasizes the temporal adverb. It means the same thing as

I didn't find him until hours later. (= I found him hours later)

  • 1
    Yes, it seems to be a conflation of that first sentence and a more complex construction with the same meaning, Not until hours later did I find him. Either one is correct, but they don't have the same structure, so they can't be combined at will. – John Lawler Mar 3 '15 at 19:16
  • 2
    I would disagree on those two sentences having the same meaning. "until hours later" implies a relatively long period, whereas "only hours later" invokes a relatively short period. – Ian MacDonald Mar 3 '15 at 19:17
  • Thanks for the comments. I edited my answer accordingly. – Armen Ծիրունյան Mar 3 '15 at 19:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.