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.

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29
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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 ...
21
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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?
12
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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 ...
11
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2answers
1k views

How does the “reverse syntax” in Middle English work?

I was reading the Romance of Tristan and I came across the passage: "Therefore did Tristan claim justice and the right of battle and therefore was he careful to fail in nothing of the homage he owed ...
11
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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 ...
11
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3answers
1k views

Inversion or fronting with “so”

Sentences such as: So says the preacher. So began the fight. Are they an example of inversion? I searched around, but all I could find was that the inversions with so can happen with only ...
10
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5answers
5k views

Till death do WE part [closed]

I understand the meaning of "till death do us part". I even understood why do is not does. However, in the song Love Spent by Madonna, the following lyrics occur: You played with my heart Till ...
10
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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?
10
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1answer
725 views

When “be it” is at the beginning of a sentence, what kind of structure do you call it?

I think it is kind of inversion and I'd found some info on Wikipedia, but I cannot recall what term this structure is, I even remember some examples from Wiki, say, "be it ever so humble, there's no ...
10
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6answers
952 views

What's the Subject in: 'And up here in the corner is me'

If two people are looking at a photo, and one of them pointing out the different people says: And up here in the corner is me. ... what is the Subject of the sentence? The phrase up here in the ...
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. ...
9
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1answer
2k views

When can I use “Only do …” vs. when must I use “Only …” without the “do”?

I'm writing a scientific paper and my supervisor (who is non-native speaker, whereas I am a native speaker) asked me to change this construct: Only do males have a y chromosome. to Only males ...
8
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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? ...
8
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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? ...
8
votes
1answer
453 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 ...
8
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4answers
1k views

What is the predicate in “Is he happy?”

In most theories of grammar, sentences can be broken into smaller chunks called phrases and these phrases can be broken into smaller chunks, smaller phrases still. So in the sentence: He is happy. ...
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 ...
7
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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 ...
7
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1answer
1k views

Inversion in English

Is it correct to invert the subordinate sentence in English? For instance: When the time comes, so shall we reign the land! If it is correct, what is the rule? Or is it only in old English?
7
votes
1answer
200 views

Can we have inversion with temporal expressions?

Is it correct to say: "On Friday is a concert at Trafalgar Square." or do we have to say: "On Friday there is a concert at Trafalgar Square." I know that inversion can occur with locative ...
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 ...
6
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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 ...
6
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5answers
1k views

Inversion after “only a few years ago”

Can anyone please tell me why we don't use inversion after "only a few years ago"? Today I was doing one of the CPE exercises from Side and Wellman and I encountered the following sentence : "...
6
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4answers
1k views

“Here comes the Queen” versus “Here the Queen comes” [duplicate]

What's the correct one of the following sentences? Here they come. or Here come they. Consider for example: Here comes the sun. This is the title of a famous Beatles song....
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
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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.
6
votes
2answers
610 views

Is this an inversion? If so, why would you use an inversion in this case?

Here's a quote from a CNN transcript, wherein a consumer psychologist says the following: "What is relatively new are shoppers turning on other shoppers." If "what is relatively new" were the subject,...
6
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1answer
2k views

Figures of Speech: Inversion, doubt

This is a doubt from the poem Television by Roald Dahl and it is there in our 10 STD school textbook. I and my teacher had a bit of conflict with the figures of speech here: ...In almost every house ...
6
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3answers
628 views

Use of Inversion : Adverbial phrase

I'm from Korea, a non-English speaking country. I recently had my mid-term on English. In the test, there was a question asking us to put words in order and make them into a full sentence. The ...
5
votes
3answers
686 views

Is “supply” the inverse of “apply”?

We can say "The add function is applied to values 1 and 2". Can we say equivalently "The values 1 and 2 are supplied to the add function"?
5
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5answers
1k views

Opposite/inverse of duplicate

What is a word that can function as the inverse of a duplicate question on Stack Exchange? I was looking, in the context of this question on meta, for such a word to distinguish the closed duplicate ...
5
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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 ...
5
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2answers
2k views

What is the simple subject in “Is that my bike”?

Is that my bike? I'm not sure if the simple subject is that or bike.
5
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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 ...
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 ...
5
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1answer
5k views

“What have we here?” vs. “What do we have here?” [closed]

Could someone explain which structure is correct and if it's okay to say the other one? Oh, what have we here? Oh, what do we have here? Can we simply invert the subject and the verb to make ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

“He said, X” vs. “X, he said” vs. “X, said he”

I’ve long wondered how in reported speech, what sort of change in nuance is produced by switching around the normal order of the subject (that is, the speaker) and the “speech-related” verb (such as ...
4
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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?
4
votes
3answers
156 views

English Subject-auxiliary inversion

In normal declarative English sentences, let's call them 'canonical' sentences, the verb comes after the subject. Bob is walking the Great Wall of China. Bob likes elephants. But in other types of ...
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 : ...
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 ...
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
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1answer
2k views

Use of “did” in an affirmative sentence before subject [duplicate]

I wrote the following sentence in an article: Only in June it created repositories. The editor corrected me: Only in June did it create repositories. What's the explanation for "did" in this ...
4
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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 ...
4
votes
1answer
474 views

Can the subject go at the end of a clause?

I've recently come across the following sentence: Round the corner walked Hannah, and nearly bumped into Louise. The first clause sounds clumsy to me. I think the example above should be written ...
4
votes
2answers
472 views

Syntax of “What proof have we?”

I'm a German and our English teacher always told us not to use the German syntax in English. So here are a few examples to illustrate : "What means this word?" -> correct : "What does that word mean?"...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Inversion by “only” in a passive sentence

I have searched for the grammar concerning inversion in passive voice, and my search was fruitless. I was wondering how to put "only" at the beginning of a passive sentence. For example: Only the ...
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
409 views

Why does this sentence seem to me to have an adverb for a subject? [closed]

At the bottom of the device is a microphone and a microUSB port for data connections and charging (Source) At the bottom of the device is an adverb of place. Why is the subject of the sentence an ...
3
votes
2answers
390 views

Why was inversion used in the following context?

There are many such problems for which a greedy approach provides an optimal solution much more quickly than would a dynamic-programming approach. This is from Page 321, Introduction to ...