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Inversion with negative adverbials
In formal English, and in written language in particular, we use negative adverbials at the beginning of the sentence to make it more emphatic or dramatic.
The word order is inverted: the negative adverbial is placed first, an auxiliary verb follows it and the subject of the sentence comes next.
The inversion of the subject and the verb can take place after a clause that begins with Not until and Only after/if/when.
Never (before), rarely, seldom;
Only a time expression:
Only when, only after...
Under,In no circumstances, In no way...
Expressions starting with Not...:
Not a noun, not only.... but also, not until...
Little with a negative meaning
Look at the following examples:
Never have I encountered such rudeness! (extract from a letter of complaint about the service in a restaurant)
Not only is Amanda Swift a gifted musician, but she is also good-natured and responsible. (extract from a covering letter)
No sooner had he locked the door than the phone started ringing.
Only when the last person had left did she sit down and try to relax.
Under no circumstances can you inform the staff about the imminent changes.
Not a sound could be heard in the church.
Little does Michael suspect that his daughter has been failing all her subjects at school!
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