I have just found the following sentence:

Especially is this true in the field of psychology.

I know the rule that says that whenever a sentence begins with an adverb that expresses negativity, it should come first the verb and then the subject. However, in this case, it does not seem to be the case for a subject-verb inversion. Can anyone explain the grammatical reason why this sentence is correct? Does this inversion have to do with the adverb especially?

  • You have tagged the question with "inversion" -- so what else is troubling you? – Kris Dec 20 '18 at 7:47
  • @Kris, there is no doubt that it is an inversion case, but I would like to know what the explanation is. To say that it is a matter of "taste", i.e. idiomaticity, does not really help, because in many other cases it is certainly the case that it is not possible to do an inversion. I cannot, for instance, say "Yesterday was I tired". So I assume that there must be some grammatical explanation for the presented case. – Lalo Dec 20 '18 at 22:15

It's formally known as "Intro Adverbial" inversion. The "limiting" adverb goes to the front as an introductory to the sentence. Consider:

Never had I met someone so interesting.
Not often will he go to work

Look up the uses of inversion. One of them is emphasis.

Especially is this true in the field of psychology.

This is an example of inversion for emphasis. Especially is brought forward using inversion so as to highlight its significance in the context. Saying "This is true" is simple; "This is especially true" adds significance but still has the focus on true; "Especially is this true" shifts the emphasis to especially, which is an adverb limiting the scope of the verb.


"Especially is this true in the field of psychology" is "correct" but painfully stilted. Much more idiomatic would be "This is especially true . . .". There's nothing special about "especially", viz. "particularly", "notably", "apparently", etc.

  • So, would you say "Especially this is true (...)" would also be a "correct" possibility? or maybe it would be "Especially, this is true (...)? – Lalo Dec 19 '18 at 17:32
  • 1
    @Lalo The most natural expression is this is especially true. But that doesn't mean that the others are actually ungrammatical. – Jason Bassford Dec 20 '18 at 17:13
  • "Especially this is true ..." would be incorrect; "Especially, this is true ..." is fine, but then especially modifies the whole sentence that follows, not the verb is. – Kris Dec 28 '18 at 5:44

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.