after negative expressions, so, and in conditionals?
Atefe,studying English in Canada,writes:
getting ready for the TOEFL exam and this part of the website has
been really useful for me. I need an explanation for all kinds of
inversion and I want to know if it is an obligation to use inversion
Talbourdet from France writes:
like to know if you really use expressions like So do I, So can
I, So must I. Do you use them or are they formal?
do I, etc
expressions are quite informal, Martine, and are readily used in
short answers in spoken English to express agreement with what has
been said in the first statement. So is here followed by
inverted word order: auxiliary verb + subject:
can run 100 m in 11 seconds. ~ So can Henry!
got a blister on my big toe. ~ So have I.
going to get it seen to by the club doctor. ~ So am I.
like to eat really hot food on cold days and so do all my friends.
is occasionally followed by normal word order in short answers to
express surprised agreement:
you don't believe me, just look out of the window. It's snowing!
~ So it is!
given me tea and I asked for coffee! ~ So I have! I'm sorry.
/ nor would I, etc
expressions are used in a similar way to So would I, etc, to express
agreement with negative statements:
can't swim very well and neither can my sister.
wouldn't dream of going into the water if the temperature is below
20° C and nor would any southerner.
after negative expressions
can use inversion in statements for the purpose of emphasis if
we decide to start the statement with a negative expression. Compare
no circumstances would I wear a mini-skirt.
wouldn't wear a mini-skirt under any circumstances.
this example, the first statement is more emphatic than the second
one. We can use this approach with a wide variety of adverbial negative
expressions, although it makes them sound rather formal. Compare
no time would he allow his team mates to argue with
/ Seldom have I seen such an exciting game of football.
had I taken my seat before two goals were scored.
had to show him my press pass and only then did he let
when the players had changed into smart clothes after the
match were they allowed to talk to the TV reporters.
in conditional sentences
can use inversion in certain types of conditional sentences when
the if-clause begins with had, were or should. Sentences
with inversion sometimes sound more formal than those with the more
conventional if-construction. Compare the following:
he not resigned, we would have been obliged to give him the sack.
he had not resigned, we would have been forced to sack him.
she to find out that he was seeing some one else, she'd go berserk.
she were to find out that he was cheating on her, she would go
you decide to cancel the contract, please let me know by Friday.
you decide to withdraw from the agreement, please phone me by
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