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Skills 15 19 inverted subjects and verbs
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Skills 15 19 inverted subjects and verbs

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  • 1. UCI Extension Paper-Based TOEFL Workshop Inverted Subjects and Verbs Structure and Written Expression Skills 15-19 Longman Preparation Course for the TOEFL Test Tutorial prepared by Marla Yoshida 1
  • 2. Inverted subjects and verbs: What are they? • Invert means to change the position of two things. J J 2
  • 3. Inverted subjects and verbs: What are they? • There are several cases when we invert the subject and verb of a sentence. That is, the subject and verb (or subject and helping verb) change places. This happens… • When we make a question • When the sentence starts with a place expression (sometimes) • When the sentence begins with certain negative expressions • When we use a conditional without the word if • When the sentence has a comparison (sometimes) Let’s look at each of these cases. 3
  • 4. Inverted subjects and verbs: Questions • In many questions, the subject and verb are inverted: Sacramento is the capital of California. (with the verb “be”) S V Is Sacramento the capital of California? V S Why is Sacramento the capital of California? V S The students all passed the test. (with another verb—not “be”) S V Did the students all pass the test? V S V When did the students pass the test? V S V 4
  • 5. Inverted subjects and verbs: Questions For right now, we’re not going to look at the details of how to form different kinds of questions. Maybe I’ll make a separate tutorial about that later. The important thing to remember right now is that question words like who, what, which, and where, can also be used in other kinds of sentences that are not questions. • Question: Who are you? • Noun clause: I don’t know [who you are]. • Adjective clause: The man [who is here] has a beard. The questions have question word order. The other kinds of clauses don’t have question word order. Their word order is like the order in a normal statement: SVO. 5
  • 6. Inverted subjects and verbs: Place expressions When a sentence starts with a word or phrase that tells where, we sometimes invert the subject and verb. We often do this in sentences that start with the words there, here, and nowhere. (There, here, and nowhere are not the subjects of these sentences.) There is a big spider on your shoulder. (Spider = subject) Look! There are two Starbucks only a block apart. (Starbucks = subject) Here are the books that I borrowed. (Books = subject) Here in my hand is a shiny, new dime. (Dime = subject) Nowhere will you find a perfect place to live. (You = subject) Nowhere else have I seen such beautiful flowers. (I = subject) 6
  • 7. Inverted subjects and verbs: Place expressions We can’t always invert the subject and verb in sentences that start with a prepositional phrase telling where—only if the phrase is necessary to make a complete idea. This usually happens in sentences saying simply that something exists or telling where it is. On the desk was an antique telephone. (Subject = telephone) In every classroom are a map and a globe. (Subject = a map and a globe) We don’t invert the subject and verb when the verb is telling what happened, and the preposition phrase just gives more information about where it happened. On the desk, the mayor had placed a photograph of his family. In every classroom, you will find a map and a globe. 7
  • 8. Inverted subjects and verbs: Negatives When a sentence begins with certain negative and almostnegative expressions, we invert the subject and verb. Never had she seen such noisy children. (Subject = she) Only once will we make this offer. (Subject = we) Seldom was he as happy as at that moment. (Subject = he) When these words come later in the sentence, we use normal word order. She had never seen such noisy children. We will make this offer only once. He was seldom as happy as at that moment. 8
  • 9. Inverted subjects and verbs: Negatives These negative and almost-negative words at the beginning of a sentence cause the subject and verb to change positions: no neither hardly rarely not nor only scarcely never barely seldom Sometimes these words are part of a phrase with other words: No sooner had I opened the door than I saw a big monster. Not only was he late, but he didn’t even apologize. Only occasionally does she go to the movies. At no time should you talk to strangers. 9
  • 10. Inverted subjects and verbs: Conditionals Conditional sentences usually use the word if: 1. Real or possible conditions (Present/future time: It might be true): I’ll pick you up [if you want me to]. [If it rains], we’ll cancel our picnic. [If you should need help], please let me know. 2. Unreal or impossible conditions (Present time: It isn’t true.) [If I were rich], I would buy a new car. We would help you [if we could]. 3. Unreal or impossible conditions (Past time: It wasn’t true.) [If he had studied harder], he would have passed the test. The meeting would have ended sooner [if the chairman hadn’t talked so long]. 10
  • 11. Inverted subjects and verbs: Conditionals However, we can sometimes make conditionals in another way. If the conditional clause has the helping verbs had, were, or should (but not others), we can omit if and invert the subject and verb: [If you should need help], please let me know.  [Should you need help], please let me know. [If I were rich], I would buy a new car.  [Were I rich], I would buy a new car. [If he had studied harder], he would have passed the test. [Had he studied harder], he would have passed the test. The meeting would have ended sooner [if the chairman hadn’t talked so long].  The meeting would have ended sooner [had the chairman not talked so long]. (Don’t say: …hadn’t the chairman talked so long) 11
  • 12. Inverted subjects and verbs: Conditionals In conditionals that don’t have the helping verbs had, were, or should, we can’t omit if and invert the subject and verb. I’ll pick you up [if you want me to]. (Don’t change!) [If it rains], we’ll cancel our picnic. (Don’t change!) We would help you [if we could]. (Don’t change!) We don’t use the “conditional without if” very often in everyday speech. It sounds very formal and old-fashioned. However, we find it in formal writing and on the TOEFL test. 12
  • 13. Inverted subjects and verbs: Comparisons We can make comparisons using an adjective: ADJECTIVE+er (bigger, happier) or more + ADJECTIVE (more beautiful, more exciting). After that, we usually use than and a noun or pronoun. Elephants are bigger than mice. I am taller than you. I think chemistry is more interesting than math. We can make comparisons using an adverb (more + ADVERB). Turtles move more slowly than rabbits. You have learned this lesson more quickly than I. (Or in more casual speech, ….more quickly than me.) And we can make comparisons with more + NOUN. John has more money than Bob. Our team got more points than the other team. 13
  • 14. Inverted subjects and verbs: Comparisons Sometimes we put a sentence after than. Elephants are bigger than mice are. I think chemistry is more interesting than math is. He has more money than I do. You have learned this lesson more quickly than I have. In this case, we can invert the order of the subject and verb in the clause after than. Elephants are bigger than are mice. I think chemistry is more interesting than is math. He has more money than do I. You have learned this lesson more quickly than have I. We don’t have to invert the word order. Both ways are fine. When we invert the order after than, it sounds very formal. It’s probably best not to use it in your own writing. 14
  • 15. Summary In this section, you have learned about these things: We can invert the subject and verb: • When we make a question • When the sentence starts with a place expression (sometimes) • When the sentence begins with certain negative words • When we use a conditional without the word “if” • When the sentence has a comparison (sometimes) 15