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  1. #1
    shinji002 is offline Junior Member
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    Default What does 'Not once did they finish a job properly.' mean here please?

    Dear Mr Answer
    Not once did they finish a job properly.


    why it gets "did" before "they"? Do you have any grammar ref on this form:"Not once did they finish a job properly. "?

  2. #2
    Kraken's Avatar
    Kraken is offline Member
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    Default Re: What does 'Not once did they finish a job properly.' mean here please?

    They never finished a job properly (not even once).

    It's called inversion

    Inversion not only can be used to form questions and conditional sentences. Also, we can use inversion for emphasis.

    * Little did she know how much work was left.
    * On no account must you sleep at school.
    * Never should you remember who's your boss.
    * Only then can you belong to me.
    * Here comes the sun.

    All these structure are rather literary, which means there are more likely to appear in books.

    More informantion here:
    Inversion of the verb after certain adverbs


  3. #3
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: What does 'Not once did they finish a job properly.' mean here please?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kraken View Post
    They never finished a job properly (not even once).

    It's called inversion

    Inversion not only can be used to form questions and conditional sentences. Also, we can use inversion for emphasis.

    * Little did she know how much work was left.
    Teacher's version (TV): "Little do you know how much background reading you'll have to do when you get to A-level."
    * On no account must you sleep at school.
    TV: 'On no account are you to copy from Wikipedia."
    * Never should you remember [forget?] who's your boss.
    TV: Never again are you to give me such shoddy work.
    * Only then can you belong to me.
    TV: Only then can you be said to have mastered the subject.
    * Here comes the sun.
    TV: There goes the bell.


    All these structure are rather literary, which means there are more likely to appear in books.

    ...
    . But not just in books. As my rewrites of your examples show, this form is very popular with teachers - anyone who has to speak in front of people in an authoritarian way.

    b

  4. #4
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: What does 'Not once did they finish a job properly.' mean here please?

    PS
    And here's a Teacher's Version using 'Not once' (as in the original post): "Not once have I had a word of thanks for taking the after-school rugby club."

    b

  5. #5
    shinji002 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: What does 'Not once did they finish a job properly.' mean here please?

    thank you all.

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