Adding Emphasis with Inversion

Emphasis with Inversion

Common phrases and Construction

Never have I / has he + past participle …

Rarely + inversion (do we / does he / have I / did they…)

Not only + inversion … but (also) …

Only when + S + verb … + inversion 

Only then + inversion …

No sooner had + S + past participle … than … Past Simple

Hardly had + S + past participle … when + Past Simple


1. Never have I heard such nonsense before!

2. Rarely does he say something clever.

Not only did you spill your coffee, but you also broke my favourite cup!

4. Only when you become a parent will you understand my worries.

5. She left him in the early morning. Only then did he realize how much he loved her.

6. No sooner had we gone out for a walk, than it started raining.

7. Hardly had we said goodbye, when Julie came running to us, crying.


Use these constructions when you want to dramatize your speech. Be careful not to over use them, as you might sound unnatural.

Click on the button bellow and try out the QUIZ on Emphasis