NOT ONLY + present perfect continuous (inversion) + BUT

Adverb expressions such as ‘not only’, ‘not just’, and ‘not simply’ emphasize that something is true, but it is not the whole truth.  These co-ordinate clauses. C2 point 92 in the category of PAST is defined: present perfect continuous, invert the subject and affirmative auxiliary verb with ‘not only … but’ as a focusing device …

NOT ONLY + present perfect continuous (inversion) + BUT Read More »


C2 point 117 in PRONOUNS/quantity is defined as: complex noun phrases using an inverted form ‘Many’ + ‘are’ + noun phrase, followed by a relative clause, as a focusing device. FOR EXAMPLE:   NBC News Covid is having a devastating impact on children — and the vaccine won’t fix everything Most of her students are poor enough to qualify for a free lunch …

Many are the + NOUN + RELATIVE CLAUSE Read More »

past perfect simple (inversion)

Point 85 in the category of PAST is defined as: invert the subject and affirmative auxiliary verb to talk about imagined situations in the past, often with regret, in formal contexts *although a following modal verb ‘could’ or ‘would’ is not mentioned in the description above, they do follow in the EGP examples. A search …

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Point 66 in FUTURE: INVERSION present simple with ‘only when’ (followed by ‘will’ and inverted subject) to refer to the future. A search on Google News:   The Irish Times Miriam Lord: Séamus the Dog beats Mary Lou to the hard questions “And it seems now,” she insinuated, ” only when the pressure comes on you, Taoiseach, will you concede that this is necessary.” A …


NEGATIVE CLAUSE + nor | neither

Here are two overlapping C2 grammar points in the English Grammar Profile. Point 129 in CLAUSES/coordinated is defined as: combine a negative clause with an inverted clause with ‘nor’, to give focus. Point 25 in CONJUNCTIONS/coordinating is defined as: ‘Neither’ or ‘Nor’ + inverted auxiliary or ‘be’ + subject to add to a previous related …

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WERE + noun phrase + TO infinitive

Were you to handle this problem on your own, there would be no doubt you’re the kind of man we want. Listen C2 point 126 CLAUSES/subordinated is defined as: ‘Were’ + pronoun + ‘to’ infinitive to introduce a condition, in formal contexts. Point 127 CLAUSES/conditional is defined as ‘were’ with an inverted subject + ‘to’ infinitive, to introduce conditions in formal contexts. Sadly, a search for . were _P to …

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(conditional) inverted SHOULD + WOULD clause

C2 point 120 in the category of CLAUSES/conditional is defined as: inverted ‘should’, + ‘would’ in the main clause to talk about possible future outcomes, in polite or formal contexts. Example: Should they come forward, that would be a tricky situation for us. Listen In the COCA corpus we can do a collocate search for: …

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‘never before’ + perfect inversion

‘never + inversion‘ is B2 with or without past perfect.  The following example has present perfect simple inverted: Never before has man possessed so much power. listen Here’s an example with past perfect inversion without ‘before’: Never had I felt such an incomprehensible emptiness within myself. listen In the English Grammar Profile, B2 point 68 in  PAST is defined as: past perfect simple,  invert the subject and auxiliary …

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Hardly had + inversion

If you want to express something that happened immediately before something else with a very rare expression… Hardly had * _vvn * when 1 HARDLY HAD HE SPOKEN, WHEN 4 Even when searching with 4 spaces to the right on iWeb we get less than 10 strings:

Inversion in clauses with conditions and formality

Here are examples of subject – auxiliary verb inversion replacing the usual ‘if’: Had I known what was inside, I would have smoked it. Listen   Should you desire, I can provide character references. Listen   Were I allowed to defend myself, I could have proven this to you. context This is another post that points at overlapping points on the English Grammar Profile.  Parts of two points are worded differently but basically locate the same structure for “should” starting a sentence.  …

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