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Not even when the doorbell rang could Mary rise from the bed.

Not even when the doorbell rang Mary could rise from the bed.

Are both sentences correct? If so, is there a difference in usage between the two?

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Only your first sentence is right:

Not even when the doorbell rang could Mary rise from the bed.

You're talking about something that Mary 'could not' do, so the structure is very important as these two words have to operate together.

The other, more natural-sounding way to say the same thing would be:

Mary could not even rise from the bed when the doorbell rang.

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  • Thanks. I guess starting the sentence with "not even" sounds more literary. Am I right? – Fra Feb 9 at 12:45
  • @fra yes, more likely to be written than spoken. – Astralbee Feb 9 at 19:43

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