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Inversiones en inglés

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Inversiones en inglés

Inversiones en inglés, ¿qué son, cuándo y cómo se hacen? Let’s see.

There are some words and phrases that function as adverbials that sometimes need an inversion. Look at these two sentences.

Bob rarely speaks to himself.

Rarely does Bob speak to himself.

 The adverb here is “rarely”. If it comes after the subject, there is no inversion (as in the first sentence), but if it comes before the subject, we need an inversion. The word order is inverted and in the case of the sentence about Bob we use the auxiliary verb “does” in the same way we do in questions (although this isn’t a question).

The sentence with the inversion sounds more formal or more literary, and sentences like this are less common in ordinary conversation.

Here are some examples with other phrases used in the same way.

Seldom does Bob get invited to parties. (seldom = rarely)
Never have we seen such a breathtaking view.
At no time did the prisoner look as if he might confess.
Not only is she a great dancer but she is also an amazing mathematician.
Not until she took up rock climbing did she overcome her fear of heights.
Under no circumstances* will prisoners be allowed to give interviews to the media.
Little** did she realize that her grandmother was really a wolf.

* This is used to describe rules for which there are no exceptions. The alternative without the inversion is: Prisoners will not be allowed to give interviews to the media under any circumstances.

** This means that the girl didn’t realize at all that her grandmother was really a wolf.

  • Remember that no inversion is possible if the adverbial doesn’t come before the  subject. Compare the following sentences with the corresponding sentences above.

She is not only a great dancer but she is also an amazing mathematician.
It was not until Effie left Brooklyn that she realized how attached she had become to the
place.

 

The following three are used to describe an event that happened immediately after another.

Hardly had he stepped outside when it started to rain.
Scarcely had he stepped outside when it started to rain.
No sooner had he stepped outside than it started to rain.

Note that the past perfect tense is used to describe the event that happened first.

MORE EXAMPLES:

Never have I encountered such rudeness! (extract from a letter of complaint about the service in a restaurant)

Not only is Amanda Swift a gifted musician, but she is also good-natured and responsible. (extract from a covering letter)

No sooner had he locked the door than the phone started ringing.

Only when the last person had left did she sit down and try to relax.

Under no circumstances can you inform the staff about the imminent changes.

Not a sound could be heard in the church.

Little does Michael suspect that his daughter has been failing all her subjects at school!

EXERCISES

1)

1. (Never/I/meet) _____________________such well-behaved children before. They are as good as gold.
2. (No sooner/my father/sit down) _____________________ 
to dinner than there was a knock on the door.
3. (Little/he/know) _____________________ 
that his culinary skills are quite substandard.
4. (At no time/ I/ mean) _____________________ 
to hurt your feelings. It was all a big misunderstanding.
5. (Seldom/we/ have) _____________________ 
friends over for a drink. We prefer to meet them at pubs or restaurants.
6. (Not only/he/make) _____________________ 
a mean cheesecake, but he also prepares homemade jam.
7. Only when the situation gets out of hand _____________________ 
(the government/ begin) to act
8. Not until June _____________________ 
(you/can /get) all the swimming gear out of the drawers.
9. (Only once/ I/climb) _____________________ 
such a high mountain before.
10. Her eyes were very red. (only later/I/find out) _____________________ 
that her fiancé had broken up with her.

KEYS:

1. (Never/I/meet) _Never have I met______such well-behaved children before. They are as good as gold.
2. (No sooner/my father/sit down) __No sooner had my father sat down______ 
to dinner than there was a knock on the door.
3. (Little/he/know) __Little did I know________ 
that his culinary skills are quite substandard.
4. (At no time/ I/ mean) __At no time did I mean_______ 
to hurt your feelings. It was all a big misunderstanding.
5. (Seldom/we/ have) __Seldom do we have_______ 
friends over for a drink. We prefer to meet them at pubs or restaurants.
6. (Not only/he/make) __Not only does he make________ 
a mean cheesecake, but he also prepares homemade jam.
7. Only when the situation gets out of hand __does the government begin_______ 
(the government/ begin) to act
8. Not until June __can you get_________ 
(you/can /get) all the swimming gear out of the drawers.
9. (Only once/ I/climb) ___Only once have I climbed_______ 
such a high mountain before.
10. Her eyes were very red. (only later/I/find out) ___Only later did I find out________ 
that her fiancé had broken up with her.

 

2)

1. You are not going to get me to eat that! (No way … !)

____________________________________________________________

 

2. I have seldom seen such a brilliant goal. (Seldom …)

____________________________________________________________

 

3. Such a hurricane has rarely happened in Hereford. (Hardly ever …)

____________________________________________________________

 

4. This must not leak out to the press. (Under …)

____________________________________________________________

 

5. He wasn’t rich and he wasn’t handsome. (Neither …)

____________________________________________________________

 

6. We haven’t often witnessed such artistry. (Rarely …)

____________________________________________________________

 

7. The bridge collapsed as soon as we managed to get across. (No sooner …)

____________________________________________________________

 

8. The bell had barely started to ring when the children rushed out of the classroom. (Scarcely)

____________________________________________________________

 

9. We have never been so well wined and dined in our lives. (Never …)

____________________________________________________________

 

10. We had barely entered the shop when an assistant jumped on us. (Hardly … when …)

____________________________________________________________

11. He is both charming and very rich. (Not only …, but … also …)

____________________________________________________________

 

KEYS:

1. You are not going to get me to eat that! (No way … !)

__No way are you going to get me to eat that!______________________

 

2. I have seldom seen such a brilliant goal. (Seldom …)

__Seldom have I seen such a brilliant goal.________________________

 

3. Such a hurricane has rarely happened in Hereford. (Hardly ever …)

__Hardly ever has such a hurricane happened in Hereford.  ___________

 

4. This must not leak out to the press. (Under …)

___Under no circumstances must this leak out to the press. __________

 

5. He wasn’t rich and he wasn’t handsome. (Neither …)

__Neither was he rich or handsome. _____________________________

 

6. We haven’t often witnessed such artistry. (Rarely …)

__Rarely have we witnessed such artistry. _____________________

 

7. The bridge collapsed as soon as we managed to get across. (No sooner …)

__No sooner had we managed to get across than the bridge collapsed. ___________

 

8. The bell had barely started to ring when the children rushed out of the classroom. (Scarcely)

__Scarcely had the bell started to ring when the children rushed out of the classroom. ___________

 

9. We have never been so well wined and dined in our lives. (Never …)

__Never have we been so well wined and dined in our lives. _______________

 

10. We had barely entered the shop when an assistant jumped on us. (Hardly … when …)

___Hardly had we entered the shop when an assistant jumped on us. _____________

 

11. He is both charming and very rich. (Not only …, but … also …)

__Not only is he charming but he is also very rich. __________________________

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  1. Adri Mc

    estudiando esto de la inversión, en un writing estoy intentando hacer una pero no se como ponerla. Si me pudieras ayudar, sería de gran ayuda. Gracias.

    La frase en cuestión es la siguiente: no solo no me devuelve el coste de la ropa sino que no pude obtener una nueva.

    1. patty

      Hola Adri:
      la frase quedaría así: not only did they not give me the money back, but I could not buy a new piece of clothing either.
      Te pongo either porque es tampoco, pero tampoco pude comprar un nuevo artículo. Artículo de ropa = piece of clothing.
      Espero que lo entiendas.
      Saludos y gracias por seguirnos,
      Patricia

      1. Adrián Murillo Caraballo

        muchas gracias, me ha servido. no estaba seguro de como poner not only did they not give me …

        1. patty

          🙂

  2. Juani

    Hola Patty !
    Antes que nada, quiero agradecerle y felicitarle por la página, muy buena la verdad, me está ayudando con varias cosas que tengo para estudiar.
    Justo lo que quería comentarle tiene que ver un poco con las inversiones y demás topics relacionados a la gramática inglesa.
    Estoy estudiando Traductorado de Inglés, y todavía debo una materia de 1er año (me tiene de hijo jaja casi un karma) que no la pude sacar aún y consta de 4 partes. El principal conflicto casi siempre fue la primer parte, que consiste en el “use of english” y pocas veces lo hice bien (siempre me dificultó).
    El nivel es CAE y estuve haciendo los ejercicios de su página (key word sentence transformation y open cloze, que son los que me resultan más jodidos), pero quería saber si usted tiene o conoce de algún otro sitio web para sacar más ejercicios como esos, ya que los que tengo en mi libro no son de mucha ayuda.

    Espero su respuesta y disculpe las molestias, profe !

    1. patty

      Hola Juani:
      me alegro que te guste mi web, la hago con mucho cariño y dedicación y es un placer para mí poder ayudaros.
      Con respecto a tu pregunta, te aconsejo hacerte con algún libro de Use of English para poder practicar para tu examen, o incluso en Internet hay páginas con ejercicios de ese tipo, lo único que en los libros o las webs te ponen por lo general el ejercicio y las soluciones, pero no te explican el porqué de las cosas, por tanto, si no entiendes por qué, deberías buscarte un profesor que pueda ayudarte a superar tu examen. Si pones en el buscador en internet algo como “ejercicios Use of English nivel CAE” seguro que encuentras mucho material.
      Por cierto, yo también estudié Traducción e Interpretación, supongo que será la misma carrera.
      Un saludo y gracias por seguirnos,
      Patty

      1. Juani

        Hola de nuevo !
        La página completísima, es de mucha ayuda y en varios niveles, lo cual la hace mejor !
        Estuve buscando por todos lados en internet y he encontrado, pero preguntaba para saber si tenía algo extra de mayor ayuda solamente jaja la explicación es lo de menos, entiendo cuando cometo el error, lo difícil para mí es al momento de hacerlo y que la estructura esté bien. Lamentablemente no tengo plata para ir a una profe particular, está todo bastante caro acá y aunque me serviría, no quisiera gastar en algo que estoy estudiando como carrera (distinto con la escuela, no sé si me entiende). En fin, seguiré buscando a ver qué encuentro.
        La carrera es la misma supongo, nomás que el Interpretariado es aparte, se puede hacer una vez finalizado el Traductorado (cosa que me gustaría hacer).
        Saludos y gracias por contestar !

        1. patty

          Hola, yo lo que tengo es lo que encuentro por internet, hay muchísimas páginas donde se pueden encontrar ejercicios de Use of English, que además vienen con la solución. Te decía lo de un profesor porque muchos alumnos cuando ven las soluciones de las ejercicios de Use of English, ven la solución y como no suele venir explicación, no saben por qué cometen el error, pero si ése no es tu caso, perfecto, puedes estudiar tú sólo.
          Venga, suerte y deseo que apruebes tu asignatura.
          Saludos y me alegro que te gusta mi web.
          Patty

          1. Juani

            Pensé que los ejercicios que tenía eran de algún libro específico o pdf jaja pero no hay drama, tengo varias páginas en favoritos de ejercicios, tendré que repasarlos otra vez, no queda otra.
            Gracias y sí, espero poder aprobar de una vez para seguir adelante.
            Muchas gracias por responder y la buena onda, éxitos y que siga en pie este sitio !

          2. patty

            Gracias a ti, Juani, por tus buenos deseos y bonitas palabras. Es un placer para mí poder ayudar a tantos estudiantes de inglés y además por todo el mundo. Qué te vaya genial el estudio y a por todas.
            Saludos desde España y aquí tienes tu web siempre que la necesites. Si cuando practiques el Use of English tienes dudas, estaré encantada de ayudarte.
            Aprovecho para recordarte que puedes suscribirte gratuitamente y así no perderte ninguna nueva publicación. Y también puedes compartirlo en las redes sociales para que tus amigos puedan beneficiarse de las explicaciones.
            Un saludo y gracias de nuevo,
            Patty

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