Sunday, May 1, 2011

Negative inversion - practice exercises

Here are some exercises on negative inversion, as promised rather a long time ago.
If you need to revise the basic principles, I suggest you look at my post
Making sense of negative inversion. Hopefully!

Two warm-up exercises to remind you of the principles

Click and Drop - where you see this symbol ? mouse over it for instructions

Exercise 1 - Fill the gaps using the words in the box. ?

has   ·   before   ·   than   ·   audience   ·   then   ·   was
started   ·   will   ·   can   ·   did   ·   so many   ·   had
1.Hardly ever an athlete won so many medals in such a short time.
2.Little we realise what a social faux-pas we had committed.
3.Scarcely the match started when the trouble began.
4.Only by standing on tip-toe I able to see anything at all.
5.Seldom can an have heard a better interpretation of this symphony.
6.Hardly had the controversial opera when people began to walk out.
7.Only if we leave now we be in time to catch the train.
8.Never have I seen people turn out for this event.
9.Rarely a remark have been more ill-judged.
10.Only did it become clear what the extent of the damage was.
11.Barely had we had time to pack up the picnic things the heavens opened
12.No sooner had we asked for a quieter room room, we were given one.

Exercise 2 - Fill the gaps using the words in the box. ?

else   ·   way   ·   did   ·   circumstances   ·   nothing   ·   such
nor   ·   until   ·   would   ·   account   ·   only   ·   even
1.At no time he seem to realise what an idiot he was making of himself.
2.At no time before have I heard arrant nonsense.
3.Nowhere do they charge you so much for water
4.On no should you miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
5.Under no must this door be left unlocked.
6.Not she apologises for what she said will I speak to her again.
7.Not if they halved the price would I buy such a heap of old rubbish.
8.Not for all the money in the world I do what you're suggesting.
9.Not do I know you're wrong, but I can also prove you're wrong.
10.Neither was the food up to standard was the service particularly good.
11.Everyone except me got soaked. Not for do I always carry an umbrella.
12.No am I going to jump into that icy cold water!

Two practice exercises

Practice Exercises - general principles
  1. Unless shown otherwise in the brackets (), start each sentence with a capital letter and finish with a full stop, but don't add any other punctuation.
  2. Remember that when there is more than one auxiliary verb, only the first one is inverted. Any others stay with the main verb.
  3. If you 'copy and paste', be careful not add any extra spaces; the program needs you to be exactly right: it's not very clever.
  4. You can check your answers at any time - click on Check
  5. Clicking the clue buttons ? (at the moment hidden) will give you the next word, but try not to use them unless you get really stuck. You will need to click on 'show' first.
  6. If you want to empty all the boxes and start again, click on the Clear button.

Exercise 3 - Make inverted sentences from the sentences given, using the words in brackets (). Try the exercise first without any help. If you get really stuck you can use the hidden clue buttons . To show the clue buttons click here

1.You shouldn't tell him about my trip to China. (On no ...)
2.You are not going to get me to eat that! (No way ... !)
3.I have seldom seen such a brilliant goal. (Seldom ...)
4.Such a hurricane has rarely happened in Hereford. (Hardly ever ...)
5.I wouldn't want to hurt your feelings for all the world. (Not ...)
6.They were never aware of the danger that threatened them. (At no time ...)
7.This must not leak out to the press. (Under ...)
8.He wasn't rich and he wasn't handsome. (Neither ...)
9.We haven't often witnessed such artistry. (Rarely ...)
10.The bridge collapsed as soon as we managed to get across. (No sooner ...)
11.We were only able to cross the border by offering him a bribe. (Only ...)
12.Immediately he opened his mouth he started complaining about everything. (Barely ... before ...)

Exercise 4 - Make inverted sentences from the sentences given, using the words in brackets (). Try the exercise first without any help. If you get really stuck you can use the hidden clue buttons . To show the clue buttons click here

1.She has no idea what a surprise she's going to get. (Little ... know)
2.The bell had barely started to ring when the children rushed out of the classroom. (Scarcely)
3.He didn't start his speech until there was absolute silence in the hall (Not ...)
4.We will only be able to accept your offer if we are offered free delivery (Only ...)
5.It is with good reason that Edinburgh is known as the Athens of the North (Not for ...)
6.We have never been so well wined and dined in our lives (Never ...)
7.She didn't break the news of her engagement until after dinner (Only ...)
8.We weren't told that we would need our passports. (At no time ...)
9.They don't charge you as much for water anywhere else. (Nowhere else ...)
10.I wouldn't fly with them again even if they offered me a free flight. (Not even ...)
11.We had barely entered the shop when an assistant jumped on us. (Hardly ... when ...)
12.He is both charming and very rich. (Not only ..., but ... also ...)


  • Ex 1 1. has, 2. did, 3. had, 4. was, 5. audience, 6. started, 7. will, 8. so many, 9. can, 10. then, 11. before, 12. than
  • Ex 2 1. did, 2. such, 3. else, 4. account, 5. circumstances, 6. until, 7. even, 8. would, 9. only, 10. nor, 11. nothing, 12. way
  • Ex 3
    • 1. On no account should you tell him about my trip to China.
    • 2. No way are you going to get me to eat that!
    • 3. Seldom have I seen such a brilliant goal.
    • 4. Hardly ever has such a hurricane happened in Hereford.
    • 5. Not for all the world would I want to hurt your feelings.
    • 6. At no time were they aware of the danger that threatened them.
    • 7. Under no circumstances must this leak out to the press.
    • 8. Neither was he rich nor was he handsome.
    • 9. Rarely have we witnessed such artistry.
    • 10. No sooner had we managed to get across than the bridge collapsed.
    • 11. Only by offering him a bribe were we able to cross the border.
    • 12. Barely had he opened his mouth before he started complaining about everything.
  • Ex 4
    • 1. Little does she know what a surprise she's going to get.
    • 2. Scarcely had the bell started to ring when the children rushed out of the classroom.
    • 3. Not until there was absolute silence in the hall did he start his speech.
    • 4. Only if we are offered free delivery will we be able to accept.
    • 5. Not for nothing is Edinburgh known as the Athens of the North.
    • 6. Never in our lives have we been so well wined and dined.
    • 7. Only after dinner did she break the news of her engagement.
    • 8. At no time were we told that we would need our passports.
    • 9. Nowhere else do they charge you so much for water.
    • 10. Not even if they offered me a free flight would I ever fly with them again.
    • 11. Hardly had we entered the shop when an assistant jumped on us.
    • 12. Not only is he charming, but he is also very rich.

Printer friendly post

You can make a teacher copy with answers by clicking on 'Show All'. Make sure you 'Clear All' before printing student copies. Or you can print normally and the answers will appear on a separate page (Page 5), after the exercises (pages 2-4). I strongly recommend doing a Print Preview first. You might want to change your margins and you certainly won't want to print every page.


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