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We usually say : "John could earn enough money only in this way" without Inversion.
We say : "Only in this way could John earn enough money" with Inversion.

But my question is : Can I (or should I) put a comma after the phrase "Only in this way" to avoid using Inversion ?
Can we say : "Only in this way, John could earn enough money" without Inversion ?

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  • Ask yourself whether the start of the sentence before the comma and the end of the sentence after the comma, make sense without the intermediate phrase: Say...John could earn enough money. If it doesn't make sense, you can't. Nov 7, 2022 at 8:29
  • @Mohammed Salim: Was the word "Say" (in your last sentence) included by accident? Nov 7, 2022 at 8:55
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    Whether to use comma in Inversion We usually say : "John could earn enough money only in this way" without Inversion. We say : "Only in this way could John earn enough money" with Inversion. But my question is : Can I (or should I) put a comma after the phrase "Only in this way" to avoid using Inversion ? Can we say : "Only in this way, John could earn enough money" without Inversion ? Nov 7, 2022 at 10:57
  • Idiomatically, we have a strong tendency to place adverbial only between the auxiliary and the main verb in such context: John could only earn enough money in this way. Combining only with the other adverbial element and "fronting" it (along with "inversion" of auxiliary verb + subject) is an extremely "literary" construction that would almost never occur in normal conversational contexts: Only in this way could John earn enough money. I can't see any arrangement that would justify a comma (or pause in speech), though. Nov 7, 2022 at 12:56
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    I have approved Nov 10, 2022 at 19:11

1 Answer 1

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(A) It is a Negative Sense to use "Only" , Eg Compare these two or three Cases :

"John can earn enough money in this way"
"John can earn enough money only in this way"
"John can earn enough money in whichever way"

The "Only* is used when no other way was Possible , hence it is restricting the Possibilities (In this way & no other way) & It may be considered Negative in Sense.

With that thinking , when inverting the Clauses , the Subject-verb Inversion is required.
"John could earn enough money only in this way"
"Only in this way [,] could John earn enough money"

(B) In case it was not Negative Sense , then Inverting the clauses does not require the Subject-verb Inversion.

"John could earn enough money in this way"
"In this way [,] John could earn enough money"

The Comma is not necessary , but looks nicer with that.

(C) There are Cases where even with inversion of clauses , the Subject-verb inversion is not used.

Example :
"that way madness lies"
"that way lies madness"

References to Check :
https://www.grammaring.com/only-after-only-if-only-in-this-way-etc-not-until
Does inversion occur after comma?
"Only if" + comma + inversion

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