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Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #116400: Subject/verb inversions
Some languages use "the subject/ verb inversion" a lot. French is one of them, but English isn't! Should you be happy for it? Of course not!
The phenomenon exists in certain precise cases. They express a desire from the speaker to give the sentences some "special effects"!
I) In English, of course, the principal " indication" of the subject-verb inversion is the interrogative form".
- They had found solutions to their problems.= affirmative sentence.
=> Structure= Subject+ Verb+ Complements.
=> Had they found solutions to their problems? = interrogative sentence.
=> Structure= Verb (accompanied by a possible auxiliary)+ Subject+ Complements+ ?
II) Inversion is also used to insist on a meaning or an effect that the speaker wants to make clear.
1) Using a negative at the beginning of a sentence in order to insist on a temporal impossibility.
DO TAKE CARE OF "SEMI-NEGATIVES" ( hardly, scarcely, barely, seldom, See lesson N° 105025 ); they are following the same patterns as pure NEGATIVES.
- Never would he have imagined such a rude answer!
- Seldom did he invite her to dinner...
2) In order to express advice, especially if there's a hesitation to express it. Thus, it's a formal and polite way to give advice.
3) In order to express a hypothesis: Had I= If I had.
- Had she known the truth, she'd never have accepted his apologies!
4) In order to express a similarity of thoughts or actions, " So have I", "Neither will he". The tag uses the same auxiliary as in the sentence with a subject/verb inversion.
- "I have already visited the Empire State Building several times." "So have I."
- "I've never read Plato in Greek. " " Neither have I!"
I do hope you will train and use these patterns which are seldom used by foreigners. Good luck for the test!
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