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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.

  • 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. – StoneyB Mar 20 '18 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. – Felipe Oliveira Mar 20 '18 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 '18 at 17:34
  • @stangdon Thanks, and I'm sorry for that... I didn't notice at all. – Felipe Oliveira Mar 20 '18 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]. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 20 '18 at 19:28
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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

  • Thank you, that was where I was has having troubles the most! – Felipe Oliveira Mar 21 '18 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

  • 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." ? – Felipe Oliveira Mar 20 '18 at 16:50

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