English Grammar Step by Step
Rewrite the following sentences without changing the meaning.
Begin as shown.
No-one should enter this room under/in any circumstances.
Under/In no circumstances should anyone enter this room.
She at no time told me who she was/She didn’t tell me who
she was at any time.
At no time did she tell me who she was.
I have rarely seen such a beautiful butterfly.
Rarely have I seen such a beautiful butterfly.
I have never heard such a stupid thing.
Never have I heard such a stupid thing.
I did not witness the robbery, either.
Neither/Nor (less formal) did I witness the robbery.
When a sentence contains a negative word or expression, it
is sometimes placed at the beginning in formal English to
give a more dramatic effect. However, the order of the
sentence is as though it were an interrogative sentence.
a We have seldom fished so much here. (Seldom...)
b They are in no way responsible for what occurred last night.
(In no way...)
c You should not on any account take these pills when you
drink alcohol. (On no account...)
d She not once offered us her help. (Not once...)
e I did not became aware of what was going on until I saw
her weeping. (Not until...)
It was only when my children arrived home safely that I
Only when my children arrived home safely did I feel relieved.
We did not know anything about what was going to happen to us
Little did we know about what was going to happen to us next.
I well remember when I saw her for the first time.
Well do I remember when I saw her for the first time.
I was so happy that I arranged a big party/My happines was
such that I arranged a big party.
So happy was I that I arranged a big party/Such was my
happines that I arranged a big party.
I waited for you to come back many times/many a time.
Many is the time (that) I waited for you to come back/Many a
time did I wait for you to come back.
Notice that if we put some words or phrases at the beginning
of the sentence, inversion is required.
a She agreed to go out with him only when he bought her some
flowers. (Only when...)
b We little realised the dangers that were awaiting us. (Little
c He was so tired that he slept for fourteen hours. (So tired
d My delight was such that I bought everybody a drink. (Such...)
e I love him to such an extent that I would even give my life
for him. (To such an extent...)
We had hardly/scarcely/barely started to watch the film when
the light went off.
Hardly/Scarcely/Barely had we started to watch
the film when the light went off.
I felt much better after I took a sachet of this medicine/I
had no sooner taken a sachet of this medicine than I felt
No sooner had I taken a sachet of this medicine than I felt
They had no sooner started the engine than the car exploded/
Immediately they started the engine, the car exploded.
No sooner had they started the engine than the car exploded.
I was no sooner informed of the facts than I took legal
action/As soon as I was informed of the facts, I took legal
No sooner was I informed of the facts than I took legal
As soon as he sees a pretty girl, he asks her to go out with
him/He no sooner sees a pretty girl than he asks her to go
out with him.
No sooner does he see a pretty girl than he asks her to go out
They not only took care of me, but (they) also treated me as
if I were their own daughter.
Not only did they take care of me, but (they) also treated me
as if I were their own daughter.
a They not only supply us with food, but also with drinks.
b We had no sooner eaten it than we had a terrible stomach-ache.
c I had hardly gone to bed when the telephone rang. (Hardly...)
d She took him to the zoo and to the cinema as well. (Not only
e The cock crows as soon as the day breaks. (No sooner...)
If you should need a sun protection cream, please tell me.
Should you need a sun protection cream, please tell me.
If I were you, I would try to fascinate her.
Were I you, I would try to fascinate her.
If they had confessed everything, they would have been
expelled from school.
Had they confessed everything, they would have been expelled
For details, see unit 24, section 14.
a If you should need a good make-up remover, please let me
b If I were to win the first prize in the national lottery, I
would no longer work. (Were...)
c If you hadn’t flooded the engine, it would have started at
once. (Had you...)
d If my parents should need me, I will never let them
e If I were in your place, I would try to be more assertive.
Peter goes up again.
Up goes Peter again. (But Up he goes again.)
The beautiful scenery I had been told about lay/was below me.
Below me lay/was the beautiful scenery I had been told about.
In the first case, we have a verb of movement. In the second,
an intransitive verb or the verb be is required. The inverted
sentences give an emphatic effect, but they mean the same as
the non-inverted ones. Note that we do not use do, does or
did with this type of inversion.
a My brother went off without saying a word. (Off...)
b He went off without saying a word. (Off...)
c Her toys were along the corridor. (Along the corridor...)
d The castle stands on a hill. (On a hill...)
e Your chance to speak out is now. (Now...)
6 Revision exercise.
a You shouldn’t in any way consider him as your worst enemy. (In
b You must on no account upset your parents. (On no account...)
c Mr and Mrs Adam live across the bridge. (Across the bridge...)
d I was so scared that I could not even scream. (So scared...)
e The horrific view of the massacre was in front of us. (In
front of us...)
f The canyon lies behind those mountains. (Behind those
g He only then became aware of the dangers of the jungle.
h She had scarcely begun to study when her boyfriend rang the
i I won’t go trekking with him. (No way...)
j My terror was such that I couldn’t move. (Such...)
k I had no sooner switched on the dishwasher than it broke down.
l As soon as he saw her, he fell in love with her. (No sooner
m If we had known that you were interested in buying the block
of flats, we would have sold it to you. (Had...)
n Your mother went down the road. (Down the road...)
o She went down the road. (Down the road...)
p This disease is common only in hot countries. (Only in
q You will never again have such an opportunity. (Never again
r We not only wrote to her many times, but telephone her twice,
too. (Not only...)
s Immediately he learnt about his mother’s incurable disease,
he cried his eyes out. (No sooner...)
t We have both put aside some money and stocked up with a
lot of groceries from the shop next door. (Not only...)
u I did not use suntan lotion, either. (Neither...)
v The wood pigeon flew up. (Up...)
w If you should increase our wages, we will work overtime.
x She had hardly taken everything out of the picnic basket when
it began to rain. (Hardly...)
y If you were to buy a new car, which of these would you
z My humiliation was such that I did not know what to do. (Such
Note the following, as well:
‘I don’t like meat.’
‘Neither/Nor do I’ (Compare: I don’t either.)
The opposite is So do I. See unit 5.
Observe that words or expressions like never, rarely and
seldom are considered negative in English.
See unit 1.
See also unit 17, section 5, footnote 2.
When is also possible, but less usual.
Hardly (the most usual), scarcely and barely go with the
past perfect tense. No sooner may also be used with other
tenses, but never for actions that will take place in the
future. You cannot therefore say: No sooner do I see her,
I will invite her to my birthday party.
Instead of also, we can use too or as well:
They not only took care of me, but (they) treated me as
if I were their own daughter(,) too/as well.
Not only did they take care of me, but (they) treated me
as if I were their own daughter(,) too/as well.
Compare the following:
‘Where are my socks?’
‘I don’t know, but I’ll help you to look for them.’
(After a while)
‘Here are your socks!’ (But Here they are!)
Mother (on the phone): Have you seen my son anywhere?
Uncle: He’s here with us.
‘There goes your girlfriend.’ (But There she goes.)
‘Oh, thank you... Margaret!’
‘Do you know if Margaret is at home?’
‘Oh, yes! She’s there.’
Or You will never have such an opportunity again.
Author: Miquel Molina i Diez
Pages: 1 and the key
1 Negative and interrogative sentences (Page 2 and the key)
2 Short answers (Page 2 and the key)
3 Question tags (Page 2 and the key)
4 Questions and exclamations (Page 2 and the key)
5 So, neither, nor, either (the key)
6 Be, used to, would, be/get/become used to, dare, have, get, become, grow, go, turn, fall and feel (Page 2 and the key)
7 Verb tenses: forms (Page 2 and the key)
8 Irregular verbs
9 Verb tenses: uses (Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5 and the key)
10 Personal pronouns, possessives and reflexive pronouns (Page 2 and the key)
11 The genitive case (the key)
12 Singular and plural nouns (Page 2 and the key)
13 Gender (the key)
14 A, an, some, any, no, not, none, each, every and the; compounds of some, any, no and every (Page 2, Page 3 and the key)
15 Neither, not...either, none, not...any, both and all (the key)
16 A few, few, a lot, lots, a little, little, many, much, no and plenty (the key)
17 Enough, too, so and such (the key)
18 Comparative and superlative sentences (Page 2 and the key)
19 Adjective order (the key)
20 Relative clauses (Page 2 and the key)
21 Do and make (the key)
22 Modal verbs (Page 2, Page 3 and the key)
23 Infinitives, gerunds and present participles (Page 2 and the key)
24 Conditional sentences (Page 2 and the key)
25 Passive sentences (the key)
26 Reported speech (Page 2 and the key)
27 Purpose (the key)
28 Word order (the key)
29 Inversion (the key)
30 Connectors (Page 2 and the key)
31 Prepositions (Page 2, Page 3 and the key)
32 Phrasal verbs (the key)