Definitions

Inverted sentence

Inverted sentence

An inverted sentence is one in which the subject appears after the verb. This construction causes the subject to receive more emphasis.

An exception occurs when the verb is intransitive:

Down the street lived the man and his wife without anyone suspecting that they were really spies for a foreign power.
Because there's no object following the verb, the noun phrase after the verb "lived" can be decoded as subject without any problem.

Examples

Inversion after initial negatives:

  • Never will I do that again!
  • Rarely have I eaten better food.
  • Hardly ever does he come to class on time.
  • Not until a frog develops lungs does it leave the water and live on the land.
  • Not only was Mary Ann Shadd famous for helping escaped slaves, she was also the first African Canadian woman to establish a newspaper.
  • Hardly ever have there been so many choices for young people entering the work force as there are today..

Inversion after other structures:

  • So high is Mount Everest that climbers can take only a couple of steps per minute as they near the summit.
  • Off the coast of North Carolina lie the Barrier Islands, a popular summer resort area.
  • Only after the earthquake had taken place did the lack of safety measures become obvious.

Others:

  • A desire to throw over reality a light that never was might give away abruptly to the desire on the part of what we might consider a novelist-scientist to record exactly and concretely the stucture and texture of a flower.
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