# Thread: a statement in the form of a question?

1. ## a statement in the form of a question?

I know that sometimes a statement is in the form of a question but I don't know a certain rule about it. I wanted to know what the rule is.
1. Never have they called us.
2. Only when I entered the building, did I see the man.
3. Little did I realize that they would use dirty tricks.

2. ## Re: a statement in the form of a question?

Originally Posted by atabitaraf
I know that sometimes a statement is in the form of a question but I don't know a certain rule about it. I wanted to know what the rule is.
1. Never have they called us.
2. Only when I entered the building, did I see the man.
3. Little did I realize that they would use dirty tricks.
Do you mean the use of "have they" and "did I" is what makes you call it "in the form of a question"?

The three sentences you have given are all statements, none are questions. There have been other threads relating to such constructions as "Only then did he...." Have you searched for similar threads?

3. ## Re: a statement in the form of a question?

Originally Posted by emsr2d2
Do you mean the use of "have they" and "did I" is what makes you call it "in the form of a question"?

The three sentences you have given are all statements, none are questions. There have been other threads relating to such constructions as "Only then did he...." Have you searched for similar threads?
Thanks emsr2d2, threads are about the expressions not only, ... but also, etc
I remember our teacher told us: when your sentence starts with 'only' or 'never' make it in question form (inverse form, I don't know exactly the term) but its meaning is like an statement. I found one statement starting with 'Little' as I mentioned beforehand.
Actually my question is this:
How many special expressions do we have at the beginning of the statement which are necessarily followed by an inverted form?
Thank you,
Ata

4. ## Re: a statement in the form of a question?

Ata, you will do yourself a big favor if you stop thinking about this as "question form" right away.

The word order is "inverted" in that the subject comes after the verb. Yes, many questions are formed this way, but not all (How are you? He did what??), and many statements use this order then they are not questions at all.

When you start a sentence with a negative or restrictive word or phrase (never, rarely, not only, etc.) you invert.

You can also invert when you start your sentence with with some adverbial phrases:
Into the hole scurried the little mouse. Up the hill marched the soldiers.

5. ## Re: a statement in the form of a question?

Try to avoid using the expression 'question form', or it may cause confusion, as no question is involved. A better term is 'inversion; when no auxiliary is present, DO is used.

Inversion takes place:

1. When the utterance begins with a negative expression:

Never have I seen such a beautiful sight.
Nowhere could we find shelter.
In no circumstances do we offer credit.
Not until she arrived did we learn the full story
.

2. When the utterance begins with a 'near-negative' expression: Hardly, seldom, rarely (= 'almost never') only + explicit/implicit time (= 'not until'):

Hardly had she opened her mouth when the obscenities started.
Only after he retired did we realise how much we had relied on him
.

This consrtuction is quite formal. It is possible to begin all these sentences with the subject, and there is no inversion:

I have never seen such a beautiful sight.
We couldn't find shelter anywhere.
We do not offer credit in any circumstances.
We didn't learn the full story until she arrived.
She had hardly opened her mouth when the obscenities started.
We didn't realise how much we relied on him until after he retired.

6. ## Re: a statement in the form of a question?

Originally Posted by Barb_D
Ata, you will do yourself a big favor if you stop thinking about this as "question form" right away.
Two great minds ...
You can also invert when you start your sentence with with some adverbial phrases:
Into the hole scurried the little mouse. Up the hill marched the soldiers.
Thanks - I forgot those.

7. ## Re: a statement in the form of a question?

Originally Posted by Barb_D
Ata, you will do yourself a big favor if you stop thinking about this as "question form" right away.
You can also invert when you start your sentence with with some adverbial phrases:
Into the hole scurried the little mouse. Up the hill marched the soldiers.
You really found my mistake, genius
But the underlined sentence are not inverted. Based on what I learned from you I can say:
Into the hole did the little mouse scurry. Up the hill did the soldiers march.
I think I don't know the meaning of inverted. do I?
5 says: 'when no auxiliary is present, DO is used.'
I think 5's quote was about negative ones, and for positive inverting we just put the main verb before the subject.
Please tell me whether I've got it or not. Thanks Barb_D and 5j

8. ## Re: a statement in the form of a question?

"Inverted" in this context simply means "reversed".

I have never been to France.
Never have I been to France.

I was rarely in trouble at school.
Rarely was I in trouble at school.

9. ## Re: a statement in the form of a question?

Those indeed are inverted. You don't need the verb "to do" for inversion when you follow the adverbial prhase.

The little mouse scurried -- standard word order.
Scurried the little mouse -- inverted word order. You could use this in the example I gave: Into the hole scurried the little mouse.

Edited to clarify that the lack of "to do" is for this type of inversion, not all types.

10. ## Re: a statement in the form of a question?

Originally Posted by Barb_D
Those indeed are inverted. You don't need the verb "to do" for inversion.

The little mouse scurried -- standard word order.
Scurried the little mouse -- inverted word order.
I agree.
However, inversion in constructions beginning with a (near-) negative expression generally require an auxiliary verb.

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