'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.


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 '20 at 17:18
  • Good point, thanks! – SarahT Apr 5 '20 at 17:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.