I am a native English speaker, but I am fairly new to teaching ESL. In a book I was reading with a student, I came across this sentence:
Never in my life have I seen such a thing!
As a native speaker, this did not sound at all unusual to me. My student asked me, however, why the interrogative form (auxiliary + subject + participle) was being used if it wasn't a question. I couldn't think of any linguistic rule to cite other than, "That's just what sounds right". I would like to come back next week with a rule to explain this situation. Can someone help me?
There's an explanation here English Lesson 21 - INVERSION,NEGATIVE AND LIMITING ADVERBIALS,Times expressions - English Lesson-ngilizce Ders - Blogcu
NEGATIVE AND LIMITING ADVERBIALS
Sometimes you can place a negative or limiting adverbial in the front position to create emphasis.
In this type of sentence, the subject+auxiliary word order is inverted.
I have never seen anythiing quiete so breathtaking
Never have I seen anything quiete so breathtaking
It is not only one of the oldest cities on Earth, but also one of the most beautiful
Not only is it one of the oldest cities on Earth, it is also one of the most beautiful
We rarely visit that part of town
Rarely do we visit that part of town
Times expressions: Never, rarely, seldom
Seldom do we have goods returned to us because they are faulty, (not Seldom we do...)
These are most commonly used with present perfect , or with modals such as can and could . Sentences of this type often contain comparatives.
Times expressions: Hardly, barely, scarcely, no sooner
These refer to an event wich quickly follows another in the past. They're usually used with past perfect , althought no sooner can be followed by past simple
Hardly had the train left the sation, when there was an explosion
Scarcely had I entered the room when the phone rang
No sooner was the team back on the pitch than it started rainning
These include under no circunstances, no account , at no time, in no way , on no condition , not until, not only
Click on the link above to read more.