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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    Scarcely at the beginning with no inversion

    Hi,

    http://www.learnersdictionary.com/definition/scarcely

    - Scarcely a day goes by when they don't see or talk to each other.

    I have come across the sentence above that begins with 'scarcely'. I would like to ask why the inversion is not used in that sentence although it starts with 'scarcely'? Why not this one:

    - Scarcely does a day go by when they don't see or talk to each other.

    Thanks.

  2. Moderator
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    #2

    Re: Scarcely at the beginning with no inversion

    Both versions are correct.

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Scarcely at the beginning with no inversion

    The inversion occurs with an auxiliary verb and the subject. There is no auxiliary verb in the first sentence.

  4. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #4

    Re: Scarcely at the beginning with no inversion

    It's an optional inversion rather than an obligatory one.

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    #5

    Re: Scarcely at the beginning with no inversion

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Thank you, Ademoglu, for asking that question. I learned so much from the other posters' answers, and Tdol's comment that "Scarcely a day goes by ...." does NOT require inversion really hit the nail on the head. (Like you, I had assumed that a sentence starting with "scarcely" needed inversion.)

    I went to my beloved "books" section of Google and found many examples. I discovered that this exception to the rule seems to be restricted to certain words. I found that most of the examples involved the following nouns:

    "Scarcely a [day, week, minute, page, year, moment, case, hour, nanosecond, month, Sunday, etc.] goes by that ...."

    By the way, I am sure that you already know that the inverted version ("Scarcely does a page go by in his books ....") is considered formal. It is usually restricted to writing and occasionally to elegant speeches given to an audience.

    I would probably tell someone: "Nowadays I am able to control my ice cream eating. In the past, however, scarcely a day would go by that I didn't eat a huge amount of ice cream."

    If I wanted to be very dramatic or emphatic, I might say "...scarcely would a day go by that I didn't eat a huge amount of ice cream."



    Scarcely does a day go by that I do not learn more English grammar from members' questions.


    James

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