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  1. #1
    dihen is offline Member
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    Default mistakes of negative inversions?

    When a sentence begins with negative adverbials like "rarely", "never", "only", "no..." and "not...", inversion is needed, but do native speakers often make mistakes of not using the inversion, like these below, especially in informal speech?

    "Only if ... , I will..."
    "They not only... , but also..."
    "Not only they... , but also..."
    "Rarely you can..."
    "Rarely it is..."
    "... nor there's..."

  2. #2
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: mistakes of negative inversions?

    Not that much, but often people wouldn't start with them in informal speech.

  3. #3
    dihen is offline Member
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    Default Re: mistakes of negative inversions?

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    Not that much, but often people wouldn't start with them in informal speech.
    But these are more common, right?

    "Only if/after/when/for... , ..." without inversion
    "nor there's"
    especially for something like "No way..." without inversion, since "no way" itself is informal, and "Neither one I like".

  4. #4
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: mistakes of negative inversions?

    Only when (etc) I arrived did I... (the second verb inverts)
    No way would I- common inversion
    There's no way I would- also common and avoids the inversion

  5. #5
    dihen is offline Member
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    Default Re: mistakes of negative inversions?

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    Not that much, but often people wouldn't start with them in informal speech.
    What do you mean by "not that much"? "not that often"?

    Not about inversion but isn't "[subject] not only [verb]" a common mistake even for native speakers?

  6. #6
    dihen is offline Member
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    Default Re: mistakes of negative inversions?

    Really, I had never known that there is negative inversion in English either until a while before I posted this topic.

  7. #7
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: mistakes of negative inversions?

    "[subject] not only [verb]"
    This is OK:
    John not only did all the work, but he also cleared up afterwards.
    The structures that invert can often be avoided by not placing the word or phrase in initial position.

  8. #8
    dihen is offline Member
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    Default Re: mistakes of negative inversions?

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    "[subject] not only [verb]"
    This is OK:
    John not only did all the work, but he also cleared up afterwards.
    The structures that invert can often be avoided by not placing the word or phrase in initial position.
    So "not only" as a correlative conjunction is an exception for "do-insertion"? I thought it had to be "[subject] [auxiliary verb] not only [verb]".

  9. #9
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    Default Re: mistakes of negative inversions?

    Dihen, fabulous questions!

    By the way, emphasis plays a roll here:

    EX: She sang no only this song, but she also sang that one as well.
    EX: She not only sang, she also danced.
    EX: John not only did ... <not DO-insertion per se; "DO" emphasis>
    EX: John not only finished all the work ...

    Note, speaker knowledge is intuitive. What may appear to be an error to some is indication of native competence to others. Note, 'native competence', not prescribed-grammar competent.

    For example, the Standard rule is "Not only ...", yet speakers move that phrase around as if it were a sentential adverb; i.e.yesterday, which, from a prescriptive point of view, gives the appearance that it's being used incorrectly. But from a descriptive approach, there is a pattern, there is a rule that speakers are using.

    If you take all of the examples put forth in just this one thread, line 'em up and compare them, you'll be able to see that pattern, that rule. Movement usually implies re-modification;i.e., emphasis.

    All the best.

  10. #10
    dihen is offline Member
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    Default Re: mistakes of negative inversions?

    Quote Originally Posted by dihen
    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    Not that much, but often people wouldn't start with them in informal speech.
    What do you mean by "not that much"? "not that often"?
    You didn't answer that question. And why didn't you say "not that often"?
    `
    -------------------------
    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    EX: She not only sang, she also danced.
    EX: John not only finished all the work ...
    But they become ungrammatical if I change "not only" to "not just", don't they?
    `
    "She not just sang, she also danced." (ungrammatical)
    "She did not/didn't just sing, she also danced." (grammatical)
    `
    "John not just finished all the work ..." (ungrammatical)
    "John did not/didn't just finish all the work ..." (grammatical)

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