I am familiar with inversions, but I'm not sure about the following inversions.

Would anyone say the ones in bold - or start a sentence that way?

Not entirely am I not convinced…
Not entirely am I convinced…
Never am I not convinced..

Never am I convinced by such arguments. I can imagine saying.

Rarely am I convinced by such an argument… STANDARD

  • 3
    “Never am I not convinced” isn't very likely to be heard in actual speech, but only because it's an odd thing to say. “Never have I been so convinced of anything as I am of this now” is perfectly normal and unremarkable. “Not entirely am I (not) convinced” doesn't work at all. It's just too awkward. But then “I am not entirely not convinced” is rather odd, too. “I'm not entirely unconvinced” is fine, though—a fairly straightforward and entirely reasonable case of litotes. Sep 17, 2017 at 15:36
  • Inversions with negatives only work when the phrases inverted negate the whole sentence. So not entirely doesn't work, for instance. And one negative is enough. Don't put your thumb on the scale by adding another. Sep 17, 2017 at 18:28
  • I can imagine a situation where a negation would work in conversation in which one person asks about a supposedly rare thought and the other person wants to emphasize that for him or her it is a constant thought. For example; Person A. "Have you ever wanted to run away and join the circus?" Person B. "I've never NOT wanted to run away and join the cirrcus!" But this is a rather special rhetorical case; and as both Janus Bahs Jacquet and John Lawler point out above, the examples you ask about in your question would sound extremely odd to a normal hearer in everyday conversion.
    – Sven Yargs
    Sep 17, 2017 at 23:01


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