There’s not much to say about inversion, but these are useful and super easy to use. We’ll show you how.
What we need to understand is that we use inversion when we begin a sentence with a negative adverb or adverbial phrase, we sometimes have to change the usual word order of subject and verb (often using an auxiliary verb such as do).
We use inversion after ‘negative’ adverbs which emphasise a time relationship at the beginning of a sentence
No sooner had I done my homework, my package from Amazon arrived.
We use inversion with phrases that use not
Not since I had been to uni, did I have lunch at a canteen.
We use inversion with some time phrases that use only
Only after I had done all my chores, was I able to cook dinner.
We use inversion after ‘negative’ adverbs which emphasise frequency at the beginning of a sentence
Never have I visited the MoMa.
We can also use inversion after ‘negative’ adverbs at the beginning of a sentence to emphasise how infrequently things happen.
Little did she realise what was about to happen.
Here are some negative adverbs and adverb phrases that we often use with inversion:
HARDLY – Hardly had I woken up the fire alarm went off.
NEVER – Never had I been so surprised before.
SELDOM – Seldom are we forced to stay overtime but today we were.
RARELY – Rarely have I cooked bread at home.
ONLY THEN – Only then did I realise that everything was a lie.
NOT ONLY … BUT – Not only does he go to the gym every day, but he also runs 5kms.
NO SOONER – No sooner had I got to work, my boss called me in.
SCARCELY – Scarcely had I got off the train when a truck crashed into the back of a car.
ONLY LATER – Only later did she worry about missing her plane.
NOWHERE – Nowhere have I ever had such bad service.
LITTLE – Little did he know!
ONLY IN THIS WAY – Only in this way was Ally able to open up a business.
IN NO WAY – In no way was I able to convince her to come to the party.
ON NO ACCOUNT – On no account should you do anything without asking your boss first.
Watch our video to explain how inversions work
Don’t forget to check out our Cambridge Preparation courses if you really want to master the grammar you need to get your Cambridge certificate