Alexander: It’s true. First, it has to be tested on animals or in a lab, and then it has to go through clinical trials. Only then is it put through a rigorous review by the FDA, which alone can take years. 

Florence: You’re right. I had no idea. 

Alexander: In the meantime, I’m suffering needlessly. 

Source: https://www.eslpod.com/website/show_podcast.php?issue_id=16227178

Is this a typo? **only then is it put ......

I listened to the conversation on this page and it was read like the text. Which one is correct? "Only then is it put through..." VS " Only then it is put through ...." and what the diffrence is?

  • 1
    I notice me and @CopperKettle both put links for you to visit. As a tutorial, I recommend mine. As a reference, nothing goes better than wikipedia. – M.A.R. Feb 14 '15 at 14:43

Only then is it put through a rigorous review by the FDA, which alone can take years.

This is called "subject-auxiliary inversion". There are several situations in which the inversion is called for or possible.

In your example, it is possible because the sentence begins with an adverbial that has a "semi-negative" meaning: "only then". Here's another example:

Only then did I realise how exhausted I was.

There are pages on the web that provide lists of adverbs and adverbial phrases that allow S-Aux inversion to take place:

Seldom, Rarely, Little, Nowhere, Nor even one, In no way Scarcely/Hardly/Barely … when, No sooner … than, Not only … but (also) On no occasion/account/condition, In/Under no circumstances Only after, Only later, Only once, Only in this way, Only by, Only then, Only when, Only if, Not till/until, Never, Never before, Not since, Neither/Not/So, Well (formal)

There's also a similar question at ELU, with an exhaustive answer.

Related materials

  • Something catches my eye: "Subject-verb inversion". I don't know if it's English or not, but is this arbitrary for the phrase to be that way rather than "Verb-subject inversion"? – M.A.R. Feb 14 '15 at 14:47
  • @MARamezani - the default word order in English is SVOC (subject-verb-object-complement), and this is the probable cause for using the same order in the phrase "SV inversion". – CowperKettle Feb 14 '15 at 14:48
  • @MARamezani -- oops, this is "subject-auxiliary inversion" most likely, I was too hasty. – CowperKettle Feb 14 '15 at 14:53
  • Now that you mention it, I see I was a bit rash too! Look at my answer! I just did the same mistake! – M.A.R. Feb 14 '15 at 14:56

Which one is correct? "Only then is it put through..." VS " Only then it is put through ...." and what the diffrence is?

"Only then is it put through" is correct. It lists some conditions which must be met before ("only then") the reviews begin.

If you wrote "Only then it is put through," that would mean that after these things have been done, you'd think that the process would be over, but no! It's not! Instead of being "only then" as "only after these are done can this other thing happen," the "only" becomes equivalent to a "but." E.g., I went to school, I went to work, I went home, only then I had to go right back to work again!" (Where "I had" is being the pronoun-verb equivalent to "it is.")

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