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  1. #1
    Glizdka is offline Senior Member
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    Inversion for emphasis.

    Hello, I'm not a native speaker, my first language doesn't use inversion quite like English does because it has a free word order to be chosen in pretty much any sentence and context.
    I'm wondering how you, native speakers, feel about inversion. I know the theory, I'm just asking for whether I "feel" it like you do.

    To me, in a language with as rigid syntax as in English, invertion makes the sentence more pronounced: "Hello, what's happened here? Why has the normal word order been changed here? Oh! This is why!". It adds that extra umpf to the sentence, it is more noticeable.

    Interrogative sentences use inversion, because the fact you'd like to get an answer is worth noticing by the person you're talking to.
    Negative clauses use inversion, because the fact something is not true, and shouldn't be mistaken for true, is worth clarifying.
    Limiting clauses use inversion, because it is worth accentuating that these are the only circumstances.
    "Oh boy, do I know what you mean!" uses inversion, because I "know" more than I can say.

    Have I got it right? Do you have anything to add? Can you recommend a good read?

  2. #2
    Glizdka is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Inversion for emphasis.

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    Negative clauses don't generally involve inversion.
    What do you mean by 'limiting clauses'?
    "Never before have I seen a person with eleven fingers"
    "The thing was a waste of money, it wasn't even good, nor was it cheap"
    "We need to understand every single aspect of it, only then could we call ourselves masters of it"
    "No sooner than the assignment was about to be due, has he submitted it"

    This is what I was talking about, sorry if I use the terms incorrectly.
    Last edited by Glizdka; 17-Apr-2019 at 09:18. Reason: expensive → cheap

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Inversion for emphasis.

    Inversion makes something stand out, so you're on the right track, coming from a language where the word order is less important.

  4. #4
    Glizdka is offline Senior Member
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  5. #5
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: Inversion for emphasis.

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    Can he siwm!
    Not quite the inversion we're talking about!
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Inversion for emphasis.

    But we don't usually invert for no reason.

  7. #7
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Inversion for emphasis.

    Quote Originally Posted by Glizdka View Post
    I'm wondering how you, native speakers, feel about inversion.
    NOT A TEACHER


    Hello, Glizdka:

    I love inversion.

    As you learn to speak more English, you may wish to start using some inverted sentences.

    Sometimes inversion is used for humor.

    For example, if I attend a party and the host offers me some cookies, I could say "No, thank you." But that might hurt the host's feelings.

    So I might smile and reply: "Cookies [said with an emphasis] I don't need! Do you see how big my waist is getting?"



    Best wishes

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