1

What's the correct form?

For instance:

Only then (did) it dawn on me that humans and animals see the world differently.

I got very few results in Google Books. So I'm a little confused.

2 Answers 2

2

The question asked is which of the two sentences is correct?:

1- Only then did it dawn on me that humans and animals see the world differently.

2- Only then it dawned on me that humans and animals see the world differentry.

The first sentence is a case of inversion in grammar in which negative words such as seldom, not, only, hardly, etc., if used at the beginning of the main clause, the inversion takes place and the sentence seems a question. According to this rule, the sentence is grammatically correct.

The second sentence also seems OK, but in order to avoid its confusing with the inversion rule, we'd better say "It dawned on me only then that humans and animals see the world differently.

0

I think it takes dawned on... And, you already used the past tense dawned, so no need to put did.

This said,

Only then it dawned on me that humans and animals see the world differently.

would be correct use.

The reference is here.

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  • 5
    You could also say "Only then did it dawn on me".
    – Damien H
    Oct 2, 2014 at 5:16
  • @DamienH True. +1 I did not include this as it isn't in the question.
    – Maulik V
    Oct 2, 2014 at 5:18
  • 1
    Damien's suggestion is the idiomatic way to express a sudden realization. "Only then it dawned on me" is not how a native speaker would say it. If you remove "Only then" it becomes idiomatic, but the suddenness of the realization is lost.
    – TimR
    Oct 2, 2014 at 12:05
  • 'It dawned on me only then' is idiomatic, if you don't want to say 'did dawn.'
    – user6951
    Oct 2, 2014 at 13:10

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