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Autor:  Tiago T.
E-mail:  não-disponível
Data:  30/NOV/2005 5:34 PM
Assunto:  May I invert the order like in Portuguese?
 
Mensagem:  English grammar is actually full of inversions, that is, sentences where you place the verb before the subject, changing the regular order. The most common inversions are:

- In questions, the auxiliar verbs (to be, to do, to have) or modal verbs (must, should, might, may, can, could, ought) are placed before the subject:
Should
I stay here?

Have you been to Europe?

- When you are agreeing or disagreeing (so, nor, neither):
I don't like this song. - Neither do I.

- When you are making exclamations, you can use the question structure:
Isn't that a nice place to be!

- When you are making wishes (may):
May
you have a wonderful time!


- "If clauses" (conditional clauses) may be written in a different way using inversion (formal):
If I were there, I would have tried to fix it. = Had I been there, I would have tried to fix it.
If he knew what she wanted, he'd never be with her. = Were he to know what she wanted, he'd never be with her.

- With some negative adverbial expressions, it's common to use inversions (formal). The adverb is usually placed at the beginning of the sentence. Some of these adverbs include: only, never, hardly, little, seldon, no sooner, not only, not until, rarely.
Never had I seen such a bad movie.
Seldon does my mother come to town.

Although the explanation above includes most of the inversions used frequently, a native English speaker may do other inversions naturally, just to emphasize a certain aspect of the sentence. It's hard for an English student to say where an inversion would fit.

Besides that, it's worth mentioning that the two last cases (where I wrote "formal") are rarely used today. In spoken English, unless you have a very special reason, you may want to stick to the regular subject-verb order. In formal writing, you may use it sometimes. These structures are more common in poetry. Just open a Shakespeare's novel and you'll see!

I hope that helps,
Tiago


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 English Made in Brazil -- English, Portuguese, & contrastive linguistics
May I invert the order like in Portuguese?  –  Fabricioaugusto  30/NOV/2005, 3:46 PM
May I invert the order like in Portuguese?  –  André Oliveira  30/NOV/2005, 4:01 PM
 May I invert the order like in Portuguese?  –  Tiago T.  30/NOV/2005, 5:34 PM
May I invert the order like in Portuguese?  –  Tiago T.  30/NOV/2005, 5:44 PM
May I invert the order like in Portuguese?  –  Fabricioaugusto  30/NOV/2005, 5:59 PM
May I invert the order like in Portuguese?  –  Tiago T.  30/NOV/2005, 6:01 PM
May I invert the order like in Portuguese?  –  pat  01/DEZ/2005, 10:03 AM
May I invert the order like in Portuguese?  –  Maria Valeska  01/DEZ/2005, 1:37 PM

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