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…
You can find examples of these inversions from such TV shows as The Crown, The Big Bang Theory or Friends, among others:
Should you Thursday Club members ever grow tired (=If you ever get tired of…) of your colorless and empty lives in London, I suggest immediate relocation to the discrete island nations nestled around Tonga… surely the closest one can come to heaven on Earth. Never have we received such a welcome, or eaten so well. Never have I experienced such a willingness to set oneself free and enjoy. And nowhere on Earth, and we have, by this point, travelled across almost every inch, have we encountered such beautiful women.
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.
The IT Crowd:
…I thought I’d made too much, but only now do I realise that I’d made exactly the right amount for our current purposes.
At no point after you dropped her off on Saturday night did you see Trish Winterman again?
State of the Union
Never again do I want to meet anyone who’s trekked through the Andes on their own:
Not only are we proceeding down the wrong path, but Nixon’s leading the parade.
Not only did I marry you for your mind, it’s the reason I fall more in love with you every day.
Charlie Brooker’s Antiviral Wipe (2020):
No sooner had the lockdown began than reporters ran outdoors to see what a world where you weren’t allowed outdoors was like.
- 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.
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].
All hospital visits have been stopped. Only in exceptional circumstances may a family member of a very sick patient be admitted.
Under no circumstances should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body.
Only nine times in the past hundred years have there been more than five hundred hours of sunshine in the months of March, April and May.
Not since the assassination of Martin Luther King in the late 1960s have we witnessed such widespread racial turbulence.
Only when this operation is finished in three or four months’ time can they start thinking about the real response to the disaster.
(Published 10.02.2019, updated 09.06.2020)
Related post: inversions for conditional clauses