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Is this sentence correct?

It also may explain why only until the economics was relaxed after a difficult period, the policies to solve EVD crisis could attempt to get openly involved in the response to EVD.

Is there subject inversion because of "only until"? How should I write it? Thanks

  • Both "Only until A, B." and "B only until A" seem fine to me. There seems to be no subject inversion here (as it is normally understood). – GoldenGremlin Jun 8 '16 at 13:45
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    It seems very hard to parse, and confusing, to me. I'm not even sure how to interpret it. Can you explain what you're trying to say, Ie break the meaning down a bit? – Max Williams Jun 8 '16 at 13:52
  • Do you mean "only when"? – Centaurus Jun 8 '16 at 14:18
  • It's perfectly right the way it is -- except that the phrasing is a bit complicated. Why do you think there's any inversion? Think of only until as a phrase, not separate words to parse the sentence. – Kris Jun 8 '16 at 16:04
  • Are you talking about whether there should be subject–auxiliary inversion in the main clause following such adverbs as until/when/once (the presence of modifiers like not or only doesn’t really matter)? If so, the answer is yes: inversion is most commonly found. You seem to be mixing up only when and not until, which confuses matters. My guess is that you’re trying to say, “Not until/only when financial policies [?] were relaxed after a difficult period could the policies to solve EVD attempt to become openly involved”. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 22 '17 at 0:53
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Grammatically inversion is required. But performing inversion in this sentence reveals just how poorly it is written. The inversion required is:

"It also may explain why only until the economics was relaxed after a difficult period could the policies to solve EVD crisis attempt to get openly involved in the response to EVD."

"Only until" could be used in the past tense in a case like:

"Only until the government outlawed the practice were companies able to shift costs incurred in one jurisdiction to another."

In the example sentence, it appears that "only after" is more appropriate. Moreover, "the policies to solve EVD crisis could attempt to get openly involved in the response to EVD" is garbled because in the normal course of things policies cannot "get openly involved" in something. People get openly involved, not policies. Depending on what you mean, the sentence could possibly be rewritten as:

"It also may explain why only after the economics was relaxed after a difficult period was it possible to attempt to get policies to solve the EVD crisis openly involved in the response to EVD."

Unfortunately the sentence suffers from other problems. "The economics was relaxed" is poor English and is difficult to interpret. And the awkward phrasing of "possible to attempt to get policies to solve the EVD crisis openly involved in the response to EVD" could also be improved.

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