Grammar – Inversion (Adverbials)

Grammar Point of the Month – Inversion with negative and limiting adverbials

When a negative or limiting (restrictive) adverbial expression is placed at the beginning of a sentence for emphasis, it is usually followed by auxiliary verb + subject. When there is no auxiliary verb, do is used as auxiliary. These structures are generally rather formal.


Hardly Hardly had we arrived home when we heard the shocking news.
Barely … when Barely had I opened the book to read when my neighbour put on some music at full blast.
No sooner … than No sooner had the shop opened its doors than it went bankrupt.



Only if Only if we invest more money can we save the company from the crisis.
Only when Only when I sleep can I forget about the incident.
Only now Only now am I able to understand what really happened.
Only … Only at 7 could I fall asleep



Not only … but also Not only will you have a good result, but you will also be the best.
Not once Not once did she look at me at the party.
Not until Not until I got home did I realise I’d forgotten my keys.
Not since Not since I was child have I had such a great time.
Not … Not in a million years will I go back to that hotel.



Under no circumstances Under no circumstances should we allow this to happen.
In no way In no way am I related to Luis Barcenas.
Nowhere Nowhere were the people more excited than in the streets of Manhattan.
No way


No way are we going to pay for the damages.

Never/ rarely/ seldom/ little

Never Never (before) have I met such a stupid person.
Rarely Rarely have there been so many cases of corruption before.
Seldom Seldom have we seen him in his office since he took the job.
Little Little did we know about him when we hired him.


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