a) In no clothes does Tom look good.
b) In no clothes, Tom looks good.

What is the difference between these 2 inversion sentences? Thanks.

  • Do you know if there is a difference? If so, what might it be? – JMB Oct 5 '14 at 15:10

If the sentence isn't a question, then "(negative phrase) (verb) (subject)" is often equivalent to "(subject) (negation of verb) (positive phrase)".

For example,

Not one donut did Joe eat that day.

Joe did not eat any donuts that day.

In no way were they responsible.

They were not in any way responsible. or
They were not responsible in any way.

a) In no clothes does Tom look good.

Tom does not look good in any clothes. Meaning, there are no clothes in which Tom looks good.

When the verb is after the subject, the phrase simply modifies the rest of the sentence.

In the garden, they kissed.

They kissed in the garden.

b) In no clothes, Tom looks good.

Tom looks good in no clothes.* or
Tom in no clothes looks good. or
Tom looks good without clothes. or
Tom looks good naked.

* Ambiguous: "looks good in no clothes" could also be interpreted as "does not look good in any clothes" as well. It might be used if you intend both meanings, but is probably better avoided.

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.