GURUKUL INFORMATICS

The Inversion Sentences


 

 

 

Definition:

Inversion involves swapping (inverting) the position of the auxiliary verb and the  subject in a sentence.

 

Used in

  1. Questions
  2. Emphasis
  3. Conditional sentences
 
 
Questions

The most common use of inversion is forming questions (interrogative sentences).

 

Affirmative SentenceQuestion
Earth is small compared to other planets     Is Earth small compared to other planets?
I am thirsty     Am I thirsty?
My name is Mark     Is my name Mark?

 

If there is no auxiliary verb in the sentence, one needs to be added when you invert the word order.

 

Examples

Affirmative SentenceQuestion
Andrew had health problems      Did Andrew have health problems?
It belongs to Emma      Does it belong to Emma?
She looked tired      Did she look tired?
 
 
 
Emphasis

Use inversion to show emphasis.

 

Examples

  • Little did she know how much work was left.
  • On no account must you sleep at school.
  • Never should you forget who your boss is.
  • Only then can you belong to me.
  • Here comes the sun.
 
Note

The structure is rarely used in spoken English. Most often, you will find it in books.

 
 
 
Conditional Sentences

Inversion is also used in formal conditonal sentences.


Examples

  • Were I you, I would visit my grandfather.

 

 

Exercise

Turn the following into inverted sentences. One is done for you

  • The matter could be explained in no other way.
    In no other way could the matter be explained.
     
  1. We had hardly started when it began to rain.
  2. I have seldom heard such beautiful singing.
  3. I shall never forget your kindness.
  4. I saw only then the danger we were in.
  5. We had no sooner left the house than it exploded.
  6. He didn't realize that he had lost the key till he got home.
  7. They not only robbed you, they smashed everything.
  8. Half a dozen apples fell down.
  9. If an emergency should arise, dial 999.
  10. If Rex were a little more hardworking, he would not have failed.
  11. If Mr Chan had been kinder to his employees, his business would not have collapsed.

 

Answers

  1. Hardly had we started when it began to rain.
  2. Seldom have I heard such beautiful singing.
  3. Never shall I forget your kindness.
  4. Only then did I see the danger we were in.
  5. No sooner had we left the house than it exploded.
  6. Not till he got home did he realize that he had lost the key.
  7. Not only did they rob you, they smashed everything.
  8. Down fell half a dozen apples.
  9. Should an emergency arise, dial 999.
  10. Were Rex a little more hardworking, he would not have failed.
  11. Had Mr Chan been kinder to his employees, his business would not have collapsed.

 

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