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  1. Do you not think that before the word "necessary" should be the word "is"?

  2. Do you not think that before the word "necessary" the word "is" should be?

  3. Do you not think that before the word "necessary" it should be the word "is"?

Can you tell me which option is grammatically correct? I am in have my doubts.

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    None of the examples are exactly "preferred", since native speakers would normally put the adverbial clause (before the word "necessary") at the end, rather than before (an inverted version of the sequence of) the "substantive" element: Don't you think the word "is" should be before the word "necessary"? But they're all perfectly credible - a pedant might object to the dummy "it" in #3, but actually this is perfectly natural in conversational contexts. Nov 20, 2017 at 18:38
  • So the inversion is not possible here?
    – bart-leby
    Nov 20, 2017 at 19:01
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    It's possible, but you do need to take on board that it's more common not to introduce stylistic inversions like that unless there's a good reason (which probably doesn't apply to your examples). Nov 20, 2017 at 19:09
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    Consider a much simpler example: At least I know my alphabet! I know that A comes before B is far more natural than I know that before B comes A in any normal conversational context. The inverted version is poetic / florid / affected, but perfectly grammatical. Nov 20, 2017 at 19:16
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    The examples all put the is in the wrong place. There is just no doubt about it. Why are you talking about inversion?? Also, it is more natural to say; Don't you think. We generally would say: Don't you think that the word "is" should go or precede the word necessary.
    – Lambie
    Nov 20, 2017 at 20:47

2 Answers 2

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In addition to the previous answer:

Should someone insist that you start your sentence with "Don't you think that before..." the final part may be "...there should be...":

Don't you think that before the word "necessary", there should be the word "is"?

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None of them would usually be used. I would write

Do you think that the word "is" should be before the word "necessary"?

or if you feel the need to pose a negative question

Don't you think that the word "is" should be before the word "necessary"?

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  • It looks to me as if you and I are in agreement about one thing though. We'd rather see the word "is" should be in its natural sequence (and natural position, I feel). Nov 20, 2017 at 18:45

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