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I'm Reading Kafka on the shore, and came across the following sentence:

No sooner do I settle down than my consciousness, like a battery that's lost its charge, starts to fade away, and I fall asleep.

I don't really understand the order and structure of this sentence, would it be wrong to word the bold part like this?:

No sonner than my consciousness, I do settle down.

is this sentence structure the same as something like this?

Never again Will I go there.

Thanks in advance.

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  • You did not run across "this sentence"--it's not a sentence. Please quote the entire sentence: No sooner do I settle down than my consciousness, like a battery that's lost its charge, starts to fade away, and I fall asleep. Without that the quote is meaningless. Mar 20, 2018 at 17:00
  • As I stated, I had no trouble understanding its meaning but the structure and word order to it... Also, i'm nowhere good with technical terms in foreign languages, for that I'm sorry. Mar 20, 2018 at 17:04
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    The original sentence doesn't have a comma after "No sooner", so I've edited your question to reflect that. Adding a comma there makes it more confusing, because one doesn't belong there.
    – stangdon
    Mar 20, 2018 at 17:34
  • @stangdon Thanks, and I'm sorry for that... I didn't notice at all. Mar 20, 2018 at 17:35
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    No sooner invokes subject-verb inversion. No sooner do I settle down... No sooner had we arrived when.... [and it's a translation of Kafka]. Mar 20, 2018 at 19:28

2 Answers 2

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It means that the gap between settling down and his consciousness starting to fade is non-existent, because the settling down does not happen any sooner than the latter begins.

The do I is simply part of the same word-ordering as is beginning with no sooner. You could possibly reorder it as I do not settle down any sooner than …, or as I settle down no sooner than …, but the order you quote is the most, er, poetic. Its purpose is to emphasize the no sooner.

no sooner at LDCEO

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  • Thank you, that was where I was has having troubles the most! Mar 21, 2018 at 12:57
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No sooner, do I settle down than my consciousness.

means there is a time when you

settle down

and

no sooner

happens exactly when you "settledown"

so the meaning is

Just when I settle down, my consciousness

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  • Thanks for the answer Peter, I get the overall meaning. What's tricking me is two things: 1 - Why "do I" and not "I do". 2 - Usually when comparing things, I thought that the "measurement condition" should be next to "than", I assume I'm wrong. Eg: "No sonner than my conciousness", "He is stronger than me"... could I say "Stronger, I think he is than me." ? Mar 20, 2018 at 16:50

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