بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم


Negative Inversions



What is inversion

The typical word order in English is Subject + Verb + ****** + Adverbial. However this order can be broken in certain cases. In such cases, we have to place the subject after the verb. Hence we have what we call subject - verb inversion

الترتيب الطبيعي للجملة في اللغة الانجليزية يكون عادة على النحو التالي:
فاعل + فعل + مفعول به + ظرف زمان أو مكان إلخ...
لكن في بعض الحالات نضطر للخروج من هذا الترتيب و يصبح من المفروض علينا أن نقوم بوضع الفعل قبل الفاعل

Subject - verb inversion can take place in many cases, but today I'm going to talk only about negative inversions

Negative inversions take place when negative words, such as not, never, and no, or words of negative meaning, such as only, hardly, scarcely, seldom, rarely, barely, on no account, not once, only then, only after, at no time, nowhere else, not until, little, etc. start a sentence. When these words start a sentence, we have to place the verb before the subject.This structure is basically used when the writer or speaker wishes to emphasize the negative element in a sentence
يجب علينا أن نضع الفعل قبل الفاعل عندما تبدأ الجملة باحدى هذه الكلمات:not, never, no, only, hardly, scarcely, seldom, rarely, barely, on no account, not once, only then, only after, at no time, nowhere else, not until, little. و يستعمل هذا الترتيب عندما يريد الكاتب او المتكلم التركيز على النفي الموجود في الجملة
Normal order: I have never experienced such a breathtaking adventure
Inverted order: Never have I experienced such a breathtaking adveture
Normal order: You can rarely see wolves here
Inverted order: Rarely you can see wolves here

Normal order: I can only feel satisfied after I have had a cigarette
Inverted order: Only after I have had a cigarette can I feel satisfied

Normal order: The hospital will accept to receive patients under exceptional circumstances
Inverted order: Only under exceptional circumstances will the hospital accept to receive patients

Subject - verb inversion with negative words like the ones mentioned above is not a big problem. This is especially true when the verb is made up of two parts (helping and main verb: will accept, can see, have experienced), but some people face difficulties with inversions when the verb is in the simple present tense (reads - writes - talk - accept) or in the past tense (wrote - decided - wanted - bought). If the verb in the normal order is in the simple present, all you have to do is to use do or does before the verb - see the examples

Normal order: Nada never goes to the cinema on working days.
Inverted order: Never does Nada go to the cinema on working days

Normal oder: They seldom come on time
Inverted order: Seldom do they come on time

If the verb in the normal sentence is in the past tense, then you have to use "did" followed by the verb - see the examples

Normal order: He little cared about her plight
Inverted order: Little did he care about her plight

Normal oder: He little knew that such artifacts were smuggled
Inverted order: Little did he know that such aircrafts were smuggled

Rewrite the sentences below with the negative element provided


1. Mrs. Roberts didn't say a word about her neighbor.


Not ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
2. The teacher hasn't said a word about the English test.
Not ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
3. The program had hardly begun before the explosion suddenly occurred.
Hardly -----------------------------------------------------------------------
4. Sandy can hardly see the difference between the two games.
Hardly -----------------------------------------------------------------------
5. The schedule shouldn't be rewritten on any account.
On no account -------------------------------------------------------------
6. The results mustn't be changed on any account.
On no account -------------------------------------------------------------
7. The children were able to save themselves only by using a rope.
Only --------------------------------------------------------------------------
8. The scouts can reach the other side of the river only by using the canoe.
Only --------------------------------------------------------------------------