ADVANCED GRAMMAR 1: Negative Adverbs and Adverbial Expressions Used in Inversion

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Negative Adverbs and Adverbial Expressions Used in Inversion


Objective:     By the end of this lesson, you will be able to identify and use negative adverbs and adverbial expressions commonly used in inversion.

Inversion is a phenomenon in English grammar where the subject and verb swap places in a sentence. This often occurs with negative adverbs and adverbial expressions to add emphasis or create a dramatic effect. In this lesson, we will focus on the following negative adverbs and adverbial expressions:
– Never
– Rarely
– Seldom
– Only then/once/after
– Little did  (I, you, they, he, she)  know


Not only did he arrive late, but he also forgot his presentation materials.

In this sentence, the negative adverbial expression “Not only” is used for inversion, and “but he also” is another adverbial expression used in combination with it.


Explanation of each negative adverb and adverbial expression:

a. Never:    Expresses that something did not happen at any time.
Normal word order:     I have never seen such a beautiful sunset.
Inversion:                       Never have I seen such a beautiful sunset.

b. Rarely & Seldom:    Indicate that something hardly ever happens or is not common.
Normal word order:    He rarely complains about his job.
Inversion:                       Rarely does he complain about his job.

Normal word order:      She seldom eats junk food.
Inversion:                        Seldom does she eat junk food.

c. Only then/once/after:     Emphasizes the uniqueness or specific condition of an event.

Normal word order:      He realized the importance of saving money only after losing his job.
Inversion:                        Only after losing his job did he realize the importance of saving money.

Normal word order:      She could sleep only once her children were in bed.
Inversion:                        Only once her children were in bed could she sleep.

d. Little did…know: Emphasizes someone’s lack of knowledge about a situation or event.
Normal word order:       They didn’t know that the storm was approaching.
Inversion:                         Little did they know that the storm was approaching.


Once upon a time, in a quaint village nestled deep in the heart of an ancient forest, there lived a brave young woman named Amelia. Little did she know that her life was about to take a dramatic turn.

Seldom had Amelia experienced (Amelia had seldom experienced) such feelings of unease as she wandered deeper into the woods, a path she had followed countless times before. Not only did she sense ( She not only sensed) something sinister in the air, but also the usual sounds of birdsong and rustling leaves were conspicuously absent.

Down the shadowy path in front of her appeared a mysterious stranger dressed in dark attire. Under no circumstances would Amelia typically engage (Amelia would under no circumstances) with someone so suspicious, yet inexplicably, she could not resist asking the stranger for his name.

“I am known by many names,” he replied cryptically, “but you may call me Lucius.”

“No sooner  than I thought (I no sooner thought) I was alone did you emerge from the darkness,” Amelia said cautiously. “What brings you to this forest?”

Lucius looked at her with a strange expression and said, “Nowhere else can I find the power I seek.”

Scarcely able to believe  (She was scarecley able to believe) what he told her next, Amelia listened as Lucius revealed his plan to steal ancient artifacts that held great magic from around the world. At no time in her life had Amelia encountered (Amelia had never encountered) such deliberate evil intentions.

In no way could Amelia stand (Amelia could not stand by) idly by while Lucius sought to wield this power for himself. “I cannot allow you to carry out your wicked schemes,” she proclaimed defiantly. Barely had she spoken (she had barely spoken) these words when Lucius vanished without a trace.

Never before had Amelia faced (Amelia had never faced) such an adversary nor had she set off on a journey alone. But on this day, determined to protect the world from Lucius’ malevolent grasp, she embarked on an adventure that was unlike anything she could have imagined.


Write two sentences with negative adverbs and adverbial expressions used in inversion


In this story, Negative Adverbs and Adverbial Expressions Used in Inversion English grammar are highlighted as follows:

1. Seldom (had Amelia experienced)
2. Not only (did she sense), but also
3. Under no circumstances (would Amelia)
4. No sooner (than I thought) did
5. Scarcely (able to believe)
6. At no time (in her life)
7. In no way (could Amelia stand)
8. Barely (had she spoken)
9. Never before (had Amelia faced)




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