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Only now are technological advances beginning to offer hope that wind power will come to be accepted as a reliable and important source of electricity. Wind Power in the US

Why do we need the auxiliary verb "are" in the above sentence? can we re-write it as below?

Only now technological advances are beginning ...

Or omit it to be:

Only now technological advances beginning ...


Update:

What is the subject? "Only now" or "technological advances"?

Only now are technological advances beginning to offer hope

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    You can't leave out to be, because you can't use the present participle beginning in a stative clause like that without it, just like you can't say "I eating" or "She swimming."
    – stangdon
    Mar 2, 2017 at 12:26

2 Answers 2

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The verb BE is necessary here because the clause uses a present continuous construction.

  • She is talking
  • Technological advances are beginning ...

In the second example we see the verb are agreeing with the plural Subject technological advances.

We could rephrase the Original Posters sentence like this:

  • Technological advances are beginning to offer hope that wind power will come to be accepted as a reliable and important source of electricity only now.

The word only often means something like not apart from or — as in this case — not before. When only has this meaning, if we move the only phrase to the beginning of the sentence then we need to change the sentence. We need to invert the Subject and the auxiliary verb. We put the auxiliary before the Subject:

  • Only after considering all the consequences [should] [you] make risky decisions.

  • Only now [are] [technological advances] beginning to offer hope that wind power will come to be accepted as a reliable and important source of electricity.

In the examples above we see the Subjects technological advances and you occurring after the auxiliary verbs instead of before them.

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This is a noun phrase, merely a sentence fragment:

Technological advances beginning to offer hope...

To make it a valid sentence we need a finite (tensed) verb:

Technological advances are beginning to offer hope.

If we wish to draw special emphasis to the recency of such advances, we can put "Only now" at the head of the sentence and move the finite verb to the head as well:

Only now are technological advances beginning to offer hope.

This would also be grammatical:

Only now, technological advances are beginning to offer hope.

But to my ear, not moving are to the head muddles the idea slightly, putting the emphasis on technological advances rather than on their recency.

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