Inversion is used to emphasize sentences and to ask questions.  It is writing which reverses the usual order of words (S-V-C structure). 

 

1.  To provide emphasis

(a) Incredibly angry would I be if I have to go pick him up during dinner time = I would be incredibly angry if I have to go pick him up during dinner time.

(b) Be it rain or shine, we will be there. = Whether it rains or shines, we will be there.

(c) Sweet she may be; beautiful she is not. = She may be sweet but she is not beautiful.

(d) Out he went without his umbrella.  = He went out without his umbrella.

 

 

2.  Questions

(a) Have they left the house yet?
(b) Where do you live?

 

3.  Negative & restrictive adverbials

Little, never, rarely, and seldom, hardly, barely, no sooner, or scarcely, only after, only when, only then, etc.

 

(a) Hardly had I gone to sleep when John called. = I had hardly gone to sleep when John called.

(b) Only then did I realize the significance of that letter.  = I didn’t realize the significance of that letter until then.

(c) Only after seeing him the other day did she realize that she missed him so much. = She did not realize that she missed him so much only after she saw him.

(d) No sooner had I walked out of the elevator then she bumped into me. = She bumped into me as soon as I walked out of the elevator.

(e) Little do I know your concerns.  = I know very little of your concerns.

(f) Seldom has Mary been so scared. = Mary has seldom been so scared.

 

4. 'So', 'Such', ‘Nor’ and ‘Neither’

 

(a)  So sad is the educational system in Taiwan . =
The educational system in Taiwan is so sad.

(b)  Such is life.

(c)  John does not like chilidogs.  Neither do I.

 

5. Prepositional Phrases of Place

 

(a)  On the sofa sits a cat = A cat sits on the sofa.

(b)  On the floor lies his stuff animal = His stuff animal lies on the floor.

(c)  At the entrance of the bank were two security guards = Two security guards were at the entrance of the bank.

 

6. Conditional clauses

 

(a) Had we known that you would be in town, we would have stayed home = If we had known that you would be in town, we would have stayed home.

(b) Were you die tomorrow, what would you do?  = If you were to die tomorrow, what would you do?

 

7. Exclamations

 

Isn’t that lovely!

 

8. Comparison

 

I have more toys than does Tim. = I have more toys than Tim does. = I have more toys than Tim.

 

9.  May

 

May god be with you always!

 

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