English inversion

Sometimes the rules in English can amaze even an experienced student, because no one has yet canceled hidden tricks and many exceptions of the rules. Therefore, if you think that you are quite familiar with the language and its structure, believe me, it is worth digging deeper. 

A person who is familiar with this term will immediately think that they need to read something backwards. In fact, reverse word order is called inversion, and this applies to any language. In English, we can also observe this phenomenon, but with some peculiarities. 

Inversion rules 

If an ordinary sentence will always be built according to the scheme subject + predicate + additions, then in the case of inversion, the first two words are reversed. Unlike other languages, where inversion can mean a complete restructuring of a sentence, things are a bit simpler in English. 

In other words, we will not swap everything in a row, but only the subject and the predicate, regardless of the type of sentence. 

Conditional inversion 

Conditional sentences can be called one of the most difficult topics to understand due to structures that are incomprehensible at first glance. Inversion in conditional sentences is most often used to emphasize the statement, or to give it a formal look. 

Inversion examples 

1. The most common type of inversion is questions.

- Who do you want to go with? 

 In such cases, only part of the predicate, the auxiliary verb, changes places with the subject. Modal verbs can also take the first place. 

  • Can you pass me the salt, please? 

2. There/here

In such constructions, for example, as there is / there are and exclamations, one can also observe inversion 

  • Here’s your jacket! 
  • Here comes the light. 
  • Theressomeeggsinthebox. 
  • There are so many reasons to do it. 

3. In the formal expression me too

To diversify their active vocabulary, teachers advise not to use the same word too often. So, when choosing synonyms, or phrases that have the same meaning, we can replace the expression me too with a slightly more formal so do I or neither do I (in a negative way) 

  • Ifeelveryhungry 
  • So do I! 

- Shecannotreadfast. 

- NeithercanI. 

4. After negative designs

Here, as a very striking example, you can use the well-known game 

Never have I ever 

Adverbs such as no sooner, hardly, rarely or seldom can also be used. 

5. Not + addition

Often inversion can be found after negative expressions. It is a little more complicated than the others, since it is expressed not in two words, but sometimes in a whole grammatical basis. At the study stage, the phrase not only ... but also will be useful 

  • Not for a moment did I imagine that all of that was fake, so I could barely talk.  
  • Not only does my teachers give me a lot of homework, but also my parents ask me to help them around the house. 

6. Exclamations

A rare, but still used type of inversion in everyday, informal speech. 

  • I am starving! Oh my am I starving!  
  • He did that without even asking me! Oh Gosh, did he do that!  

7. After «little»

Little did they realize what they were reading 

In fact, inversion can be found in the speech of a native speaker much more often than it might seem at first sight. Writers also use this technique to give the text an emotional coloring, description of characters or scenes. Therefore, do not be surprised every time you hear the “wrong” word order from a foreigner. Perhaps this means that you just need to immerse yourself more in the topic of language learning.