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      • Native Language:
      • Italian
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      • Italy
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      • Brazil

    • Join Date: Apr 2004
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    #1

    only if

    Hi there,

    I would like to know if you have a grammar rule relating to only if, because in my language we would say : ONLY IF A TEACHER HAS GIVEN PERMISSION THE STUDENT IS ALLOWED TO LEAVE and ONLY IF THE RED LIGHT COMES ON THERE IS ANY DANGER TO EMPLOYEES, and in english it seems to be the opposite order. Can I always invert the order???
    Only if a teacher has given permission is a student allowed to leave the room.

    Only if the red light comes on is there any danger to employees.
    Thank you

  1. BobK's Avatar
    • Member Info
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      • English
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      • UK
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      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 16,038
    #2

    Re: only if

    Quote Originally Posted by carla guaraldi View Post
    Hi there,

    I would like to know if you have a grammar rule relating to only if, because in my language we would say : ONLY IF A TEACHER HAS GIVEN PERMISSION THE STUDENT IS ALLOWED TO LEAVE and ONLY IF THE RED LIGHT COMES ON THERE IS ANY DANGER TO EMPLOYEES, and in english it seems to be the opposite order. Can I always invert the order???
    Only if a teacher has given permission is a student allowed to leave the room.

    Only if the red light comes on is there any danger to employees.
    Thank you
    You have to invert if you start with the "only if". But inversion can make the whole thing sound rather heavy-handed, so I'd prefer to put the clauses the other way round; then, you don't invert: "The student is allowed... only if a teacher has given permission..." - that, or paraphrase some other way, such as "Students are not allowed... unless a teacher has given permission...".

    b

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