Inversion : 





Subject Verb Inversion

In English, as a rule the subject goes before the verb. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

When do we invert the subject and the verb :

1 - With Prepositions :

Through the forest is a small village.

2 - With Negatives : rarely, seldom, hardly, never, only, neither, on no occasion

Rarely have I seen him.

Seldom do we go to the cinema.

3 - Sentences that start with : few, little, so, such

Little is in the jar.

Such is my love of books that I can read millions during all my life.

4 - Sentences that start with : in, out, up, down

Out went the man to go to his work place.

In walked my mother to start eating dinner with us.

5 - Comparisons with : than

The weather in Canada is colder than is the weather in the United States.

6 - Passive verb :

Announced by the Principal of the School were several rules.

7 - If Conditionals :

( If I had seen him, I would have told him the truth. ) ( In this sentence, you can omit If and then invert the subject and the verb : )

Had I seen him, I would have told him the truth.

8 - Questions with question words : where, when, which, who, whom, whose, why, how

Where is the secretary ?

How are the children ?

Does he know the answer?


1 - We don't invert subject and verb when the subject is a pronoun. For example :

She sat in an armchair .

We don't say : In an armchair sat she.

2 - In negative clauses with inversion, we don't use contracted forms. For example :

Had he not resigned, he would have been forced to resign. ( Not hadn't he ....... )