'Not until three years ago _________ to work outside.'

[(a) he began (b) he begins (c) began he (d) did he begin ]

Hi guys, I know the answer to this question is 'd', but I've had someone ask me the dreaded question: 'why?'

Can anyone help me to explain this? The student wants to know - why not answer 'a'?

Thank you so much.


1 Answer 1


It's a negative sentence so it requires do/did. Consider the following two sentences:

  • He began to work outside.
  • He did not begin to work outside.


  • Three years ago, he began to work outside.
  • Three years ago, he did not begin to work outside.
  • Until three years ago, he did not begin to work outside.
  • Not until three years ago, did he begin to work outside.
  • +1 Simple and to the point. But I would add that it requires did and an inversion.
    – Lambie
    Apr 5, 2020 at 17:18
  • Good point, thanks!
    – SarahT
    Apr 5, 2020 at 17:33

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