I know that I can use "had" to construct a conditional perfect:

Had it not rained yesterday, we would have finished painting the walls.

But is it grammatically correct to reverse the order of the clauses, like this?

We would have finished painting the walls, had it not rained yesterday.

  • 1
    It merely changes the emphasis (and the second example is perhaps more likely as an apologetic explanation). Both are quite formal in speech. Apr 20, 2020 at 18:55

1 Answer 1


It is grammatically correct. Here are a few cases of this inversion, as found in the literature. As corrected by user Edwin Ashworth it is not often found nowadays. However, for the particular instance "had it not been for" it is still common enough.

  • Where are these quotes from? May 7, 2020 at 10:17
  • @MattE.Эллен They are taken from Google Books.
    – LPH
    May 7, 2020 at 10:24
  • Please can you fill in which books you are quoting from, naming the author in each case. May 7, 2020 at 10:29
  • If you need a style guide: APA referencing May 7, 2020 at 10:30
  • @MattE.Эллен I'll try getting back to the sources and do that. Thanks for the link!
    – LPH
    May 7, 2020 at 10:32

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