learn it! title
Inverted word order


David Mendoza from Mexico City would like to know how to use inverted word order.

Roger replies:
Inversion is the norm in questions, David. Thus we have: 'How do I use inverted word order?' 'Have you seen my dictionary?' What is the problem?
However, it is normally not used with indirect questions or verbs of reporting. So we have: 'I'd like to know how I use inverted word order.' 'I asked my flat-mate if she had borrowed my dictionary.' 'I explained what the problem was.'
Sometimes, inversion is used in statements to give emphasis, especially when the statement begins with a negative word or idea:
  • 'Under no circumstances can your money be refunded.'
  • 'Only when I had been there for a year did I begin to feel at home.'
  • 'Not only did I lose all my clothes and jewellery, but my chequebook, passport and visa card went too.'
Inversion is, of course, necessary after neither, nor and so:
  • 'I don't like dried fruit.' 'Neither do I.
  • Matthew's got chicken pox, so has his brother.