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19 votes

Only then are you free?

Only is one of a set of generally negative polarity items which, if first in a clause, trigger inversion. (They don't have to stand first, but if they do, inversion is obligatory). Other examples are ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
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15 votes

Meaning of "So, too, may be the fate of his seed"

In Biblical language seed (meaning 'semen') was often used to mean 'descendants', particularly with reference to Abraham. As He promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever (Magnificat)....
Kate Bunting's user avatar
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10 votes

in his ears hammered still the harsh notes – how can ears hammer harsh notes?

The subject is the harsh notes of the mechanical piano. The verb is hammered and is intransitive, taking no object. ("Hammer" meaning "hit with force" can be transitive or intransitive.) The word ...
rjpond's user avatar
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10 votes
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"In whose symbolic shadow we stand today"

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. "In whose symbolic shadow we stand today" is a subordinate clause and ...
rjpond's user avatar
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10 votes

Does "Aren't you a silly girl!" mean "You aren't a silly girl!"?

To answer your question title first - no, one does not equal the other, in fact the opposite. "Aren't you a silly girl?" means "I think you are a silly girl and I'm telling you this, ...
DoneWithThis.'s user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Could you tell me whether this sentence is an inverted sentence?

This is not a matter of inversion but of what linguists call "pied-piping" vs "stranding". That is, the canonical declarative form which underlies your question is I can hang on to ...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

in his ears hammered still the harsh notes – how can ears hammer harsh notes?

The sentence uses inverted subject-verb order for poetic effect. If we rewrite the sentence in a more typical order, it should be clear: The harsh notes of the mechanical piano (S) still hammered (...
Andrew's user avatar
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8 votes

Using "Always" in inversion

___ does he come home before 11am for he does not want to hear his mother's complaint. Your teacher was right. Subject-auxiliary inversion occurs in declarative clauses only when certain types of ...
BillJ's user avatar
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8 votes

Only then are you free?

Not quite right - we would say then you are free, but only then is one of those expressions which require the subject and verb to be inverted. See this answer. I read the letter, and only then did I ...
Kate Bunting's user avatar
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7 votes

Is this type of sentence an Inversion?

These are not sentences but heavily reduced versions of much fuller clauses of the form [X SUBJ BE as] ADJ as SUBJ BE [X she is as] young as she is The construction SUBJ BE as ADJ as SUBJ ...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

"Not only are they not equally intelligent" ('Not only' with a negative context)

Double negatives In standard English it is perfectly possible to have two negative words in one sentence. This effectively gives the sentence a positive meaning: I didn't not do my homework. This ...
Araucaria - Not here any more.'s user avatar
6 votes
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Usage of "at" in "... at the cottage just over my shoulder is where they had been growing cannabis"

Little did their neighbors know that in this quiet corner —this quiet pretty little corner in the Kent countryside— at the cottage just over my shoulder is where ...
TimR's user avatar
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5 votes

Requesting someone to ask a question of another person

a) Just ask him if he has received the payment b) Just ask him has he received the payment c) Just ask him whether he has received the payment As extensively stated in other answers, all ...
Andrew's user avatar
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5 votes

Can I say "Look, the bus comes" to mean "Look, here comes the bus"?

The way you are using the simple present tense to describe a current event Look, the bus comes. is probably the most obvious giveaway that you are not a native speaker of English. Languages like ...
Robusto's user avatar
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5 votes

The use cases and meaning of words that trigger an Inversion, namely "little"

The phrases that allow this sort of inversion are all negative polarity items, and usually adverbial in nature; for example never, neither, scarcely, on no account. However, not all words and phrases ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
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5 votes
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"Will patrons kindly note that this restaurant will be closed on 17 July." — Why is it possible to use inversion here without a question mark?

Question syntax is used to make certain requests more tentative, and hence more polite. There is a bit of a grey area, some requests might be questions: Will you (or "won't you") have a ...
James K's user avatar
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4 votes

Other pronouns with "Boy, am I tired"

In general, the expression you are asking about Oh boy! is tense independent. You are using the short form of simply "boy!" It is the same in meaning as My goodness! Take note! Oh my! ...
Peter's user avatar
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4 votes
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How to understand "And with it went <something>"?

Both instances of it refer to the Soviet Union. We understand implosion to entail the "departure" or "disappearance" of the USSR—when it went away, the network which it had maintained went away ...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
4 votes

"Not only… but also" at the beginning of a sentence

Only this one is correct: Not only were they tall, but they were also strong. I think, we have to do inversion every single time a sentence or clause begins with not only. There is no exception to ...
Michael Rybkin's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

Do I write "I wonder why I exist" or "I wonder why do I exist"?

The "do" is called a do-support, it is needed when you convert a declarative (statement) clause that doesn't have any auxiliary into an interrogative (question) clause, as in Declarative : I exist (...
Mohd Zulkanien Sarbini's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

As and though inversion

The second sentence is closer to the more common phrasing ("tired as I may be, I will still complete my work"), where it would be the same as saying "even though I'm tired, I will complete my work". ...
legs's user avatar
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4 votes
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Inversion in this sentence: "Nothing can/could I do..."

It is possible and understandable. However I would only expect to see this form in poetry. It certainly is not used in ordinary conversation. In everyday modern English we would say: There was ...
chasly - supports Monica's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

Shouldn't "Only during totality...is it safe to look" be "...it is safe to look"?

The author wrote it that way because they had chosen to 'invert' the sentence to emphasise the phrase only during totality. Normally, the sentence would read : It is safe to look directly at the Sun ...
Kate Bunting's user avatar
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4 votes

The use cases and meaning of words that trigger an Inversion, namely "little"

little did I know such a person in my life Is this a complete quote or merely a snippet? Little did I know such a person in my life. I ask because, on it's own, sentence (1) feels awkward as (...
DotCounter's user avatar
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4 votes
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Is this sentence an inverted structure or a shortened form: "Not that grief ever ends. You learn to exist with it."

It's a specific phrasing of "It is not that grief ever ends, but [other factors occur]" similar as with your cooking example. On one hand it's increasingly common in English to drop implied ...
SF.'s user avatar
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4 votes
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Never did I see her again

The 'natural' way to say it is "I never saw her again". Putting never at the beginning is a literary/formal way to emphasise the word. The difference between (a) and (b) is a matter of ...
Kate Bunting's user avatar
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3 votes

Only yesterday [inversion or not]

If what the reporter meant by only yesterday was indeed a negative—"not before yesterday"—inversion would as you say be in order. In this case, however, the phrase means "as recently as ...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
3 votes

In the corner were corralled a few old desks

In day-to-day English, this sentence would usually follow the pattern of subject–verb–object (SVO) to become A few old desks were corralled in the corner. However, your sentence (which is perfectly ...
mike's user avatar
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3 votes
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Wh questions in future time

I would agree with the teacher. The teacher is correct in correcting your first question. The question is not "Who will I be?", it is rather "Will fate determine who I will be?". In this case "who I ...
WhatRoughBeast's user avatar

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