Questions tagged [inversion]

Questions about reversing the order of a clause’s subject and verb, including subject–auxiliary inversion in questions and normal subject–verb swap in locative, directive, copular, and quotative inversions.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
12
votes
2answers
9k views

Inversion in “only [adverb] have they”

I have seen this construction quite often: Online ads have been around since the dawn of the Web, but only in recent years have they become the rapturous life dream of Silicon Valley. What is ...
8
votes
1answer
8k views

“I'm not sure what the right way is”

I believe the sentence in the title is grammatically correct. Recently I've seen too many people writing it this way: I'm not sure what is the right way. Is it grammatically correct as well? ...
6
votes
3answers
9k views

Changing subject and verb positions in statements and questions

We always change subject and verb positions in whenever we want to ask a question such as "What is your name?". But when it comes to statements like the following, which form is correct? I don't ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Subject-auxiliary inversions not associated with questions [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Inversion in “only [adverb] have they” Is there some rule governing the following, or similar, subject-auxiliary inversions (*"Rarely they do see the light of day", *"Never I ...
7
votes
5answers
4k views

Is the inversion in “Let’s see ʜᴏᴡ ᴄᴀɴ ᴡᴇ do this” an error for “Let’s see ʜᴏᴡ ᴡᴇ ᴄᴀɴ do this”?

I’m reading about the C++ Boost library, and the following sentence from Boost.ORG drew my attention: Once the two steps have been successfully completed, the process can start writing to and ...
6
votes
1answer
640 views

“What questions [is/are] your data team hoping to answer?”

Over at stats.stackexchange we are having a minor kerfuffle over whether a title is using incorrect grammar. It has been edited and re-edited several times. It would be great to get some arbitration ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

Why do some questions not start with an auxiliary verb?

When I learned English, my teachers told me that all questions must have an auxiliary verb at the beginning, just like Are you mad? or Is she playing? do. But when watching some movies or talking ...
8
votes
3answers
45k views

Question tags — “did you” vs. “didn't you”

Typically, when we ask for confirmation/denial of a statement, we say something like the following: We turn left here, don't we? You have a cat, don't you? We've met before, haven't we? ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

What does “would not have been possible had I remained” mean?

What does this mean? I am sure this would not have been possible had I remained a typical Anglophone North American. I have never heard that before and I really find it strange. I deduce that it ...
5
votes
2answers
13k views

The use of "were- should- had” at the beginning of sentences instead of “if”

Conditionals in English are usually formed by using if with normal word order; but for the three past (subjunctive) forms were, should, and had, it is also possible to express the conditional through ...
11
votes
1answer
3k views

How do I determine subject and subject complement in “A side-effect is the spread of commercialese to other domains.”?

Consider this example: Commercialese is an instrument of art, designed to enrich and invigorate our language—surely you will all agree with this—, and we should encourage newcomers to learn ...
10
votes
4answers
27k views

“How are” or “How is” the wife and kid?

How are the wife and kid? How is the wife and kid? Which is more correct?
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Where does the verb go on this question? Is it even a reported question?

I understand that when I report a question, I put the subject back in front of the verb, as in: "He asked if she was going to be late." But I always get puzzled when it comes to reporting a question ...
7
votes
4answers
5k views

“Here he comes”, “Here comes he” : The order of pronoun and verb in inversion

It's very common to say: "Here he comes." "Here comes the man." But what about: "Here comes he." "Here the man comes." Is there a rule about the order of noun and verb in ...
-2
votes
2answers
19k views

“Be them” or “be they”? [closed]

Which of the following is grammatical? He had lollies be they red or blue? He had lollies be them red or blue? It seems as if it could be them as an object of be.
9
votes
8answers
16k views

Can you explain the sentence structure 'In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit'? Why put the verb before the subject?

The opening sentence to The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien reads, In a hole in the ground there lived [verb] a hobbit [subject]. I wonder if there are accepted stylistic purposes for such a structure. ...
29
votes
6answers
9k views

How is “Can anyone tell me how can I solve this” wrong?

I posted a question somewhere that said... Can anyone tell me how I can solve this? ...but someone edited it to... Can anyone tell me how can I solve this? ...and it was accepted. That's ...
5
votes
2answers
10k views

Inversion in “Only when the virus introduces its nucleic acid into a cell does disease occur”

Given this sentence, Disease occurs only when the virus introduces its nucleic acid into a cell. Is the following inversion grammatical? → Only when the virus introduces its nucleic acid into ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Correctness of questions without inversion, relying on intonation

I hear and read them all the time. I mean stuff like: You're just going to stay here? Instead of: Are you just going to stay here? Then I write like this out of habit and get called out on ...
3
votes
3answers
6k views

“Attached {is/are} X, Y and Z.” If X, Y and Z are all singular, is it correct to use “is” here?

Which is correct? Attached are our compensation plan, an independent contract agreement, and a W9. Attached is our compensation plan, an independent contract agreement, and a W9. I thought because ...
2
votes
2answers
613 views

Inversion/non-inversion in wh-questions with long phrases after the wh-words

Can a sentence like this: "I don't know who the first man that made such and such thing in such and such place was," be grammatically correct if we don't put "was" at the end of the long phrase, ...
3
votes
1answer
4k views

Inversion with “many times” at the beginning of a sentence

I am having a discussion with my friend. I said, "Many times I have seen him washing his car." He says it should be, "Many times have I seen him washing his car. Much like "Often do I see him", and ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Reason for Subject-Verb Inversion: Only in cases where A is B, shall the Company do X [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Sentences using: [something] + have + they subject-auxiliary inversions not associated with questions In the following, why does subject-verb inversion occur? Is it ...
1
vote
2answers
43k views

“Where am I?” vs. “Where I am?” [closed]

Which is more correct to say in a question? (For example a guy that wakes up in a train) "Where am I?" or "Where I am?"
4
votes
1answer
322 views

Replacing “do you have” with “have you”

Found a similar question here, but with some minor differences. Is it archaic to use have you in sentences such as this: John : I think we can see it with a specially crafted telescope. Mary : ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Position of verb for object clause

Is the general word order of this sentence correct? We investigate how strong the effect of X on Y is. Or, as an alternative, We investigate how strong the effect of X is on Y. In a preprint ...
2
votes
1answer
972 views

Conditional sentence without conditional conjunctions, is that possible?

Sometimes I hear sentences that sound conditional to me, just because of the (unassertive) ordering of the words. I don't know if I can come up with a proper example. Consider this: I'd be a ...
1
vote
2answers
9k views

What does “should something happen” mean?

What is the meaning of should loss occur in the following text? Backup and recovery procedures protect your database against data loss and reconstruct the data, should loss occur. The ...
-1
votes
5answers
4k views

“Not once he would” vs. “not once would he”

Not being a native speaker and suffering semantic satiation from overthinking this, I'd like to ask this probably overly simple question. Not once would he... uses reversal for negation and means "...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

Why do we invert word order when asking a question?

What's the difference between an inverted question and a normal-order question? Why invert? Is there a reason or a benefit? I love you? Do I love you?
3
votes
3answers
339 views

A word for being troubled at others' potential schadenfreude against me

Schadenfreude is "enjoyment obtained from the trouble of others." I'm not looking for the antonym of that, but instead if there is a similar word for the object of schadenfreude. For instance, is ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Inverted conditional sentence using 'can' and 'will'

On this page in Wikipedia!, it states for first conditional sentences: The condition can also be expressed using the modal verb should. This form can be used to make an inverted condition ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

“What is/are new here is/are …”

Original sentence: "What are new here are (1) XYZ and (2) PDQ." Correcting this sentence in a text and it just feels wrong. In order to make sure I change it correctly, I tried searching for: The ...
8
votes
1answer
450 views

“I do not know where … is” vs. “I do not know where is …”

Which of the following sentences is correct in a formal context? Both? If possible, please also explain why each of these sentences is correct/incorrect. I do not know where the best place to ask ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Inversion + past tense

There is a sentence: No sooner had he sat down than he fell asleep. I just do not understand, is this an inversion? And if so, I still do not understand the sentence.
4
votes
3answers
15k views

“There is the man.” Is *there* an adverb or pronoun?

According to Dictionary.com there adverb in or at that place (opposed to here ): She is there now. pronoun (used to introduce a sentence or clause in which ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Inversion with intro adverbial

Looking into inversion, I found a website listing different types of inversion, but I can't understand intro adverbial. The website says that inversions in this case are optional, and gives the ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

If/should… INVERSION FORM

Sentence: Don't worry, I've bought an extra ticket for the show should you decide to come at the last minute. In this sentence, is 'if you decided' also right (instead of 'should you decide', ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

should one invert syntax for the verb “do” in a comparison?

Which sounds better: When Canadians do initiate conversations, they tend to be more reserved than Americans do. When Canadians do initiate conversations, they tend to be more reserved than do ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Subject-verb inversion / verb-subject-object — is this correct?

I recently read the following in a schoolbook: Wrote the researchers, "[...]" I wonder if this is correct English. I have seen it a couple of more times. Is this just a matter of preference? ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Inversion after “than”/“as”

I'd like to know (1) which of the following is the most natural and (2) whether any of the following is unnatural or ungrammatical: (A) My system is no more expensive than yours would be. (B) My ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there a grammatical term for moving a word to the front or back of a sentence?

There is a function in Arabic grammar where you may bring forward in sentence order a word - as well as deferring it. For example: if the sentence order is Subject - Verb - Object, you can bring the ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

“Tell me why I should marry you” or “Tell me why should I marry you?”. Which is correct? [duplicate]

I have always followed the former rule, i.e, "Tell me why I should marry you" (without a question mark). But my cousin insists the latter is correct. He seems equally confident that he is correct. So ...
1
vote
1answer
911 views

Are the subject and complement inverted in “Perched atop a high mountain on the other side […] was a vast castle”?

In this example, are the subject and complement inverted, or could it be possible to understand that ‘The thing’ or something of the subject of verb ‘was’ is dropped? Perched atop a high mountain ...
1
vote
2answers
561 views

“Not only … but also” —parallelism in a particular case

I have been looking around to find an answer to my question, but I was unable to find one that addressed my specific problem. I want to create the following sentence, but I'm not sure whether it's ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

Someone care to explain what those things are/what are those things?

What is the difference between: Someone care to explain what those things are? and Someone care to explain what are those things? Are these both correct? Which one should I use?
0
votes
2answers
180 views

Why must “has” come before the main verb here? [duplicate]

Wrong Sentence: Never before in the history of the world such a thing has happened, I don't think that will ever happen again. Right sentence: Never Before in the history of the world has such ...
0
votes
1answer
141 views

Is this an inversion? To V should S be . .

As always, while reading through I found a sentence whose structure confused me. What I want to know is whether the first sentence is the inversion form of the second sentence. 1. If the reason ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

Inversion with a prepositional phrase [duplicate]

I understand inversion but I have a difficulty when it comes down to "there." A: Under the window there stood a vase. B: Under the window stood a vase. Here my teacher said that option B is correct. ...
21
votes
6answers
61k views

Why do you say “so do I”?

Why is the order of the words in "so do I" or "nor do I" different from the normal order?