If you want to know how to use these expressions-typically used for emphasis-you can watch the video below:
- No sooner had I …than
- Seldom have I seen…
- Little did she know…
- Should you have any further questions do not hesitate to contact me again.
- Had I known …I wouldn’t have…
You can find examples of these inversions from such TV shows as The Crown, The Big Bang Theory or Friends, among others:
The Big Bang Theory
Not only will I drive you there
Nowhere is it specified that…
Under no circumstance will you give her that engagement ring.
State of the Union
Never again do I want to meet anyone who’s trekked through the Andes on her own:
I wouldn’t have, had I known that complaining about the wet paper…
Were I to have killed anyone (If I had killed anyone…) [This man is being accused of killing his stepdaughter, but he is blaming someone else instead- If I had killed somebody, it wouldn’t have been my daughter, but that man]
- You can also find plenty of examples in the news:
Not only have I lost a friend, but we have all lost an extraordinary creative mind.
Only when the capsule has survived that (…) will people talk about success.
Only then will they be able to agree to an extension.
Never before has the Security State of Army, Police, intelligence and militias been forced to concede to the will of the people.
Scientists (…) were prepared to cool the brains, should they show (=in case they showed) any signs of consciousness. Had they done, it would have been hugely significant. (=If they had done, …)
Rarely (in one night) can both main parties have suffered such a grim set of results. [Both the Conservatives and Labour have just lost a significant amount of votes in the recent local elections, in all likelihood as a consequence of the Brexit deadlock].
(On Theresa May standing down as Prime Minister) Perhaps, had she sought compromise much, much earlier (=if she had sought/ looked for compromise…), then Mrs May’s time in Downing Street need not have ended in such disarray and failure.
Mary P. says she was forced into poverty when she became a full-time carer for her 30 year old son. She used to work to help people with autism before her son was diagnosed with the condition.
Nobody is going to employ me because at a moment’s notice I would have to go and deal with Adriano. And besides which, I’m exhausted. Had I been able to work to my qualifications, I would have been doing very well, thank you. I have more than enough qualifications to head a school, to be a headteacher in special education. But I will never be able to use my skills, I have to give them for free.
(Published 10.02.2019, updated 21.03.2020)