Posted by: catindiaonline | September 13, 2008

Subject/Verb Inversion [ GMAT Sentence correction notes IV ]

Subject/Verb Inversion

So you already know that the GMAT test is an adaptive test, meaning that your score goes up or down depending on the difficulty of the questions that you answer correctly or incorrectly. On the sentence correction section of the GMAT, the questions that test you on subject/verb inversion tend to be the harder questions, and are therefore worth more points.

So, to raise your GMAT score, you should be very familiar with most or all of the items on this list! I’ve spent a few years developing this list, and feel confident that it represents most or all of the inversion points that you’ll see on the GMAT, TOEFL, or SAT II: Writing tests.


There are at least eighteen types of inversion:

1. neg intro

2. intro adverbial (in, down, prepositional phrase)

3. intro -ed

4. comparative

5. intro comparative

6. as

7. so… that…

8. had, should, were

9. there is

10. here is

11. intro -ing

12. emphasis

13. the bigger, the better

14. questions

15. “story speech”

16. nor

17. so do I/neither do I

18. intro adjective

Type

Examples

Notes


1. neg intro



Never do
I sleep
.

Only at night can I study.

In no way could I help you
with your Japanese grammar question.

I believe that only rarely will
I need
your help.

Not until I got home did
I realize that
my shoes
were untied
.



Question form is
obligatory.

Used with all verbs.

This one is very common on the TOEFL and somewhat common
on the GMAT and GRE.

We need to learn the various types of words and phrases
that require this type of inversion.

Notice that sometimes the inversion occurs right after the
neg intro form and sometimes it occurs in the next subject
and verb.

See Neg Intro for more info.


2. intro adverbial



Into the room ran
the lady
.

First comes love,
then comes marriage.

After A comes B, then
comes C, next comes
D
.

Down came the rain and washed the spider out.

Inversion is optional.

Used with be-verbs, linking verbs, and verbs of direction.

This one is less common on the TOEFL, but more common on
the GMAT and GRE.

Notice that sometimes we have an adverb, like first and
down and sometimes we have an adverb phrase like into the
room or after A. These adverbs and adverb phrases usually
show location or direction.

This type of inversion usually only occurs with be-verbs,
linking verbs and verbs that show direction or movement, like
come, go, run, etc.


3. intro –ed



Found
in San Francisco is Lombard
Street
, the so-called crookedest street in the world.

Lost among the old
tables and chairs was
the priceless Victorian desk.

Located between San Francisco and Marin County is the Golden
Gate Bridge.

Inversion is obligatory.

Used with be-verbs.

This one is very common on the TOEFL, GMAT, and GRE.

This type of inversion usually occurs with be-verbs, but
sometimes with linking verbs.

Notice that the phrase is the complement of the be-verb.


4. comparatives

Cheetahs run faster
than do antelopes.

You speak Chinese better than do
I.

Jessica is more interested in Computer Science than is Benjamin.

Inversion is optional.

Used with all verbs.

This form of inversion is common on the TOEFL, GMAT, and
GRE.

We normally only have inversion here if we are comparing
subjects of the verb, not objects. For example, in the following
two sentences, we are comparing objects, carrots and potatoes,
not the subject I.:

J I like carrots
more than I do potatoes.
J

L I like carrots
more than do I like potatoes.
L

Now, in this sentence, we are comparing subjects, I and
my friend Carl:

J I like carrots
more than does my friend Carl.
J


5. intro comparative

Bigger
than an apatosaur is
the blue whale.

More important than
your personal statement is
your GPA.

No less impressive
than the invention of the laser was
the development of the wheel.

Inversion is obligatory.

Used with be-verbs.

This form is more common on the GMAT and GRE than it is
on the TOEFL.

Notice that we can only use this form of inversion when
the verb is a be-verb since in every case, the comparative
is the complement of the be-verb.

Remember that less than is also a comparative.


6. as

Megumi is from Japan,
as is Sato.

So-eun wants to leave early today, as does Oi.

If thrown into the water, camels can swim, as can cats.

Inversion is obligatory.

Used with all verbs.

We can only use inversion if we are using as for comparisons.

as is one of the trickiest words in English; it can have
many different meanings.


7. so… that…

So happy
was I
that I bought flowers for everybody in class.

So quickly did she leave
that we did not even realize was gone.

So rarely does a
comet appear
visible to the naked eye that when one does, it is considered
a major event.

Question form is
obligatory.

Used with all verbs.

This is not so common on the TOEFL, but is fairly common
on the GMAT and GRE.

The so… that… clause must before the verb in for this type
of inversion.


8. had, should,
were
for if-clauses

Had
I remembered
Tomomi’s birthday, she wouldn’t be mad
at me now.

Should you need a
hand, I will be more than happy to help you.

Were I you, I think
I would study more for your exam tomorrow.

Inversion is obligatory.

Used with all verbs.

This is somewhat common on the TOEFL and more common on
the GMAT and GRE.

This type of inversion is kind of special. Notice that we
can only use this type of inversion when we are using an if-clause.
In other words, if is omitted: even though the word if does
not appear in the clause, we still have the meaning of an
if-clause.

For more information, see had, should, were.


9. there is, there
are, there exists, there comes, etc.

There
is a good restaurant
nearby.

There comes a time in every person’s life when she realizes
that she is responsible for her own happiness, not other people.

Scientists hypothesize that there exists
a certain type of particle
that can travel faster than the speed of light.

Inversion is obligatory.

Usually used only with these verbs.

This form of inversion is common on the TOEFL, GMAT, and
GRE, as well as in spoken and written English.

Most people remember there is and there are. BUT we must
also remember that there are other verbs that we can use instead
of is and are. The most common ones are exist, come, and go.


10. here is, here
are, here comes, here come

Here
is some good food
for you to try.

Here are the books
that I don’t need anymore.

Here comes the bus!



Inversion is obligatory.

Usually used only with these verbs.

You will probably not see this on the grammar section of
the TOEFL or on the GMAT or GRE. It could, however, appear
on the Listening Comprehension Section of the TOEFL. We use
this form mostly in spoken English.


11. intro -ing

Burning
out of control was the forest
located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Coming in last in
the race was Joe
“Elephant Legs” Blow
.

Not helping the situation
was little Susie, who was throwing newspaper on the spreading
fire.

Inversion is obligatory.

Used only with be-verbs.

This form is not common on the TOEFL, but might show up
on the GMAT or GRE.

Notice the intro –ing phrase is the complement of the be-verb.


12. emphasis

Boy am
I hungry.

Is it ever hot
in here!

Do you know
how to cook!



Inversion is optional.

Used with all verbs.

You will probably not see this on the grammar section of
the TOEFL or on the GMAT or GRE. It could, however, appear
on the Listening Comprehension Section of the TOEFL. We use
this form mostly in spoken English.


13. the bigger, the
better

The closer an object
is to another object, the greater is the gravity between the
two objects.



Question form is
optional.

Used with all verbs.


14. questions

Is
this the last example?

Do you enjoy
reading these lists?

Are we finished
yet?

Inversion is obligatory.

Used with all verbs.

You will probably not see this on the grammar section of
the TOEFL (TOEFL doesn’t test questions anymore) or on the
GMAT or GRE. It would, however, appear on the Listening Comprehension
Section of the TOEFL.


15. “story speech”



“I
think it’s time to go,”
said
Susan.

“It’s time for you, but
not for me,”
replied
Gary.

“Maybe we should collect
our thoughts for a moment,”
commented
Lany.



Inversion is optional.

Used with verbs that report speech.

You will probably not see this on the grammar section of
the TOEFL or on the GMAT or GRE.


16. nor

No one has volunteered
for the job, nor do we expect anyone
to volunteer in the future.

Hok-ming cannot speak Portuguese, nor can José speak Cantonese.

The zoo regulations will not permit you to touch the animals,
nor would
most people advise you to do
so.

Inversion is obligatory.

Used with all verbs.

You might see this on the adaptive TOEFL if you are scoring
high and it could appear on the GMAT or GRE.

Remember that nor is considered a conjunction, but we use
it between two sentences (not between any two elements like
the other conjunctions).


17. “so do I”/
“neither do I.”



So
do I.”

“So can Terry.”

Neither do most people
I know.”

Inversion is obligatory.

Used with all verbs.

You will probably not see this on the grammar section of
the TOEFL or on the GMAT or GRE.


18. intro adjective



Beautiful
beyond belief was my baby daughter.

Happy about their
acceptance into their dream schools were
Lany and Tomo.

Quick and painless
will be your medical procedure.

Inversion is obligatory
in most cases.

Used with be-verbs.

This one is fairly rare and probably would not appear on
the TOEFL, but you might see it on the GMAT or GRE.

Inversion is sometimes not used in poetic language.

I received this question via PM:

What does Question form is obligatory mean?

This simply means that you MUST invert the subject and the verb in this construction. In other constructions, inversion is optional, but in these constructions, it is required.

For example, you may say:

  • She runs faster than do most of her classmates.

(verb comes before the subject)

or

  • She runs faster than most of her classmates do.

(subject comes before the verb)

BUT

  • Never have I heard such a thing!

CANNOT become

  • XX Never I have heard such a thing! XX

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