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Here is the quote I'm wondering about:

  1. Only by having enough knowledge is a person able to conceive great ideas.

Searching different sites did not help me to see whether using a form of "to be" in this inversion is right. The examples I see are using intransitive verbs only.

I want to say:

  1. Only when a person has enough knowledge that he/she can conceive a great idea.
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    Notice that the "normal" order for your first example is: "A person is able to conceive great ideas [only by having enough knowledge]." – F.E. Apr 14 '15 at 8:49
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    It sounds correct to me as a native speaker, which is a terrible reason and why I'm saying this as a comment and not an answer! – Mark Apr 14 '15 at 10:50
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    Related: ell.stackexchange.com/a/54650/3281. As you appear to already know, an inversion can happen when we front an adverbial that is negative or limiting. Here is an example from the book in that post: Only after her death was I able to appreciate her. – Damkerng T. Apr 14 '15 at 11:10
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    @Mar It's often useful for English learners to know what sounds right or not to native speakers. Someone may or may not come along later with a more formal explanation (right or wrong). I just want to say that such commemts can be helpful. – Jim Reynolds Apr 14 '15 at 11:37
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Yes, you used is correctly.

You moved the adverbial to the front, so that it can orient the reader at the beginning of the sentence. The act of conceiving great ideas receives emphasis by appearing at the end of the sentence.

This is an example of fronting.

When the fronted adverbial is negative or limiting, we invert the subject and the first auxiliary, just as has occurred in

  1. Only by having enough knowledge is a person able to conceive great ideas.
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The first sentence is valid and correct.

The second example is not a complete sentence. There is no verb. You could say, "Only when a person has enough knowledge that he can conceive a great idea will he appreciate the great ideas of others" or something of that sort. But there has to be some verb in there to make a sentence.

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