- negative inversion
- so and such
- after as
- than + inversion in comparatives - see discussion
- Exclamations (especially in American English)
Well, have we got a surprise for you!
- Hopes and wishes starting with may
May the force be with you!
So and such
- She was so exhausted that she went straight to bed.
So exhausted was she that she went straight to bed.
- He played the tune so badly that nobody recognised it.
So badly did he play the tune that nobody recognised it.
- The extent of the damage was such that the car was a total write-off.
Such was the extent of the dammage that the car was a total write-off.
|Exercise 1||Rewrite the sentences following the model above.|
|1.||He was so excited that he could hardly sleep.|
|2.||His experience was such that he knew what to do immediately.|
|3.||She performed it so well that many said that it was perfect.|
|4.||He became so angry that he stormed out of the room.|
|5.||The situation was such that the smallest incident could have started a riot.|
|6.||He had been working so hard that he had hardly seen his family.|
As + auxiliary / subject inversion
- Italy produces many excellent wines, and Spain does too.
Italy produces many excellent wines, as does Spain.
- France is a founder member of the EU. Belgium is a founder member too.
France is is a founder member of the EU, as is Belgium.
- Denmark has won this year's 'happiest country' award. It wins it every year.
Denmark has won this year's 'happiest country' award, as it does every year.
|Exercise 2||Complete the sentences, starting with as. There is one sentence where you don't invert.|
|1.||They launched a new model last week. Their main competitor launched one too. |
They launched a new model last week, .
|2.||We have complained to the council about it. Our neighbours have also complained.|
We have complained to the council about it, .
|3.||She went on holiday to the Bahamas. She goes there every year.|
She went on holiday to the Bahamas, .
|4.||The Czech Republic is famous for its beer, and so is Belgium.|
The Czech Republic is famous for its beer, .
|5.||They might be a bit late due to the traffic. Some of the other guests might be late too.|
They might be a bit late due to the traffic, .
Inversion in comparatives after than - a discussion
Children living in villages watch more television than do their counterparts in inner city areas
(Advanced Grammar in Use - Martin Hewings)
City dwellers have a higher death rate than do country people.
(Practical English in Use - Michael Swan)
- The infants of humans are more helpless than are those of most other animals.
The infants of humans are more helpless than those of most other animals.
Children living in villages watch more television than their counterparts in inner city areas.
City dwellers have a higher death rate than country people.
- this kind of inversion is never used with pronouns
He is considerably better informed about this than I am.
He is considerably better informed about this than am I.
- you're probably better leaving the auxiliary in if there's any room for ambiguity
My brother knows more about cars than I do
Taken out of context My brother knows more about cars than me might suggest that he knows more about cars than he knows about me.
- If there are two auxiliaries, we either invert both together, or keep both together at the end, or miss them out altogether:
It is no more expensive than would be the system we are proposing
It is no more expensive than the system we are proposing (would be).
It is no more expensive than would the system you are proposing be
- We can only invert auxiliaries, not whole verbs:
He earns more than (does) the chief executive.
He earns more than earns the chief executive
- Inversion doesn't seem to work when comparing adverbial expressions
Sales this year are significantly better than were sales last year.
It seems to work better when we directly compare subjects:
This year's sales are significantly better than were those of last year.
Or we can use a pronoun and simply forget inversion:
Sales this year are significantly better than they were last year
The exception - than is the case - when inversion is the norm
In the UK, a bigger portion of welfare is funded by the state than (is the case) in Poland, France, Germany or the Netherlands. (BBC)
These areas look set to weaken more than (is the case with) areas with fewer public sector employees. (The Guardian)
And the dangers of global deflation are greater and more difficult to control than (is the case with) global inflation. (The Economist)
- A higher proportion of Americans go on to higher education than (is the case) in Britain. (Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary)
- Exploring inversion and fronting - a fairly long and detailed discussion
- Making sense of negative inversion, hopefully - step-by-step exercises
- Negative inversion - exercises - more exercises
- Inversion in conditionals - step-by-step exercises plus discussion
- Fronting exercises (with a bit of subject-verb inversion) - Lots of step-by-step exercises on fronting
- Focussing with cleft clauses - explanations and exercises