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GRAMMAR: Inversion

To emphasise a particular part of a sentence, or to make your writing more literary (such as in a poem or novel), you can invert the traditional order of a sentence. For example:

Standard order – He didn’t realise he had been tricked until the following day.
Inverted order – Not until the following day did he realise he had been tricked.

It is common to invert sentence using negative, ‘restrictive’ words such as those in the list below:

hardly everHardly ever had there been such a shortage of water.
neverNever had the President had to make such a difficult decision.
littleLittle did she know time was running out.
scarcely everScarcely ever have they had to wait for anything.
only byOnly by learning to type will he improve in his job.
under no circumstancesUnder no circumstances is the prisoner to have visitors.
only in this wayOnly in this way can we be sure to avoid repeating the problem in the future.
on no accountOn no account is John to be given any money.
scarcelyScarcely had they left the building when the bomb went off.
not onlyNot only had he broken the law but he was also unrepentant.
seldomSeldom have I seen such wealth.
nowhereNowhere else is there such an abundance of natural resources.
not untilNot until the following day did he realise he had been tricked.
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