#EngClass: inversion (sentences begin with negative adverbs)

Wow, fellas! How was the weather where you live today? Never has the weather been so hot where admin lives! :|

Why did I start our session by talking about the weather? Actually it’s not the weather, but it’s this: “Never has the weather been so hot!

Are you familiar with this kind of sentence? “Never has the weather been so hot where admin lives!” Do you know what it’s called?

“Never has the weather been so hot where admin lives!” is an example of inversion, where we begin sentences with negative adverbs.

What are negative adverbs? Here are some examples: never, rarely, not once, hardly ever, seldom, scarcely, barely, only then, etc.

We use inversion for one main reason: to make the statement more emphatic (tegas). It also creates dramatic or even poetic effect.

In inversion, we invert (membalikkan) the order of subject and verb. That’s why it’s also called “subject-verb inversion”.

Have a look at how the example sentence that I have given you changes from ‘normal’ sentence to an inversion..

  • Normal sentence: “The weather has never been so hot.” –> Inversion: “Never has the weather been so hot.”

We can use inversion with all tenses. Just remember not to change the tense from the normal sentence to the inversion.

Here is the word order of an inversion:

“negative adverb + auxiliary + subject + verb”.

Can you help me fill in the gaps? “Never has the weather been”: Never = negative adverb; .. = auxiliary; .. = subject; .. = verb.

CORRECT! –> @fachryspears: Can you help me fill in the gaps? Never = negative adverb; has= auxiliary; weather= subject; been= verb

Positive sentences contain auxiliaries (aux), but some don’t. Examples with aux:

  1. “I would never do that.”
  2. “I had never seen it.”

It’s easier to change normal sentences that already contain aux:

  1. “I would never do that.” –> “Never would I do that.”
  2. “I had never seen it.” –> “Never had I seen it.”

Both ‘would’ and ‘had’ in these examples are auxiliaries.

In sentences that do not contain auxiliaries, you have to add appropriate auxiliaries if you want to change them into inversion. Examples:

  1. “I seldom hear such great news!” –> “Seldom do I hear such great news!.”
  2. “I barely touched it!” –> “Barely did I touch it!”

In these two inversions, which ones are the auxiliaries?

  1. “Seldom do I hear such great news!.”
  2. “Barely did I touch it!”?
CORRECT! –> ‏@Sthree79: “do” and “did” are the auxiliaries

Now, as usual, before we end our #EngClass, admin will have a little#EngQuiz on the topic. Rule: change these sentences into inversions. :)

And just a little reminder! DON’T forget to always use proper capitalization and punctuation (comma, full stop).

  1. She had never felt so lost and lonely.
  2. We rarely see them together.
  3. They finished a job properly (use: not once).
  4. He had scarcely gone out of the house when it started to rain.
  5. I would never have agreed if I had known the truth.
  6. I could barely see you behind that costume!
  7. I have hardly ever seen him since our last meeting.
  8. Be patient, and you will only then enjoy the fruits of your labor.

That was the last question for our #EngQuiz tonight. Tweets with correct answers will be retweeted shortly. So stay tuned! :)

CORRECT ANSWERS

  1. @alfatyipyip: Never had she felt so lost and lonely.
  2. @sierrapritta: Rarely do we see them together.
  3. @adenda90: Not once did they finish a job properly.
  4. @belebelfer: 4) Scarcely had he gone out of the house when it started to rain.
  5. @belebelfer: 5) Never would I have agreed if I had known the truth.
  6. @amaderuardian: Barely could I see you behind that costume!
  7. @OKTindriani: Hardly have I seen him since our last meeting.
  8. @Sthree79: 8) Be patient, only then will you enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Question:

@iamliaaa: Can we use it for make a poetry?

Answer:

Admin: yes, you can use inversion to make a poem. In fact, it is commonly used to make poems. :)

And that’s a wrap! I hope today’s session has been useful for you. Still making mistakes? No worries, it’s part of the learning process. :)

Compiled by @NenoNeno at @EnglishTips4U on October 29, 2012

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