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adverb inversion

English translation: See comments below...

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04:38 Apr 25, 2007
English to English translations [PRO]
Social Sciences - Linguistics / grammar
English term or phrase: adverb inversion
What is the difference between "For no money would she sky-dive" and "For no money, she would sky-dive"
And can we say "Under no circumstances will I take a day off." and "Under no circumstances, I will take a day off." are there any more examples? how to explain it??
ytsyll
English translation:See comments below...
Explanation:
To start with, it's not really anything to do with 'adverb inversion', but rather, the inversion of subject / verb word order.

But in fact, what makes the difference in both your examples is the addition of the comma; what you are in fact doing there is inverting the order of the two clauses in the sentence, and the comma is used to make this clear.

So in your first example, the second sentence:

"For no money, she would sky-dive"

could be re-written with the conventional word order:

"she would sky-dive for no money"

at which point, the meaning is unambiguous.

The same is actually true for your second example (sorry, David!), except for the fact that the sentence doesn't really make a lot of sense either way round — unless one assumes that it follows on from something else, to which the 'under no circumstances' is merely the reply.

So a simple test would be to see if you can re-write it without the comma and putting the clauses back into the right order; clearly, this can't be done for the versions with subject/verb inversion (which, incidentally, it seems to me, only work because of the negative, which may be another clue to help you)
Selected response from:

Tony M
France
Local time: 21:39
Grading comment
thanks! Couldn't agree more!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +4See comments below...
Tony M
4 +2first one = she wouldn't do it for anything, second = she would do it freely
David Hollywood


  

Answers


6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
first one = she wouldn't do it for anything, second = she would do it freely


Explanation:
I would say :)

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Note added at 18 mins (2007-04-25 04:56:50 GMT)
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the basic idea is that "for no money" means "never/under no circumstances" and the second = she would do it for free

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Note added at 1 hr (2007-04-25 05:42:56 GMT)
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in your second example, the meaning is the same

David Hollywood
Local time: 17:39
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 47

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Tony M: (except with your last comment!)
1 hr
  -> yes. I agree that my last comment is not accurate

agree  Cristina Chaplin
6 hrs
  -> thanks Cristina :)
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +4
verb / subject inversion
See comments below...


Explanation:
To start with, it's not really anything to do with 'adverb inversion', but rather, the inversion of subject / verb word order.

But in fact, what makes the difference in both your examples is the addition of the comma; what you are in fact doing there is inverting the order of the two clauses in the sentence, and the comma is used to make this clear.

So in your first example, the second sentence:

"For no money, she would sky-dive"

could be re-written with the conventional word order:

"she would sky-dive for no money"

at which point, the meaning is unambiguous.

The same is actually true for your second example (sorry, David!), except for the fact that the sentence doesn't really make a lot of sense either way round — unless one assumes that it follows on from something else, to which the 'under no circumstances' is merely the reply.

So a simple test would be to see if you can re-write it without the comma and putting the clauses back into the right order; clearly, this can't be done for the versions with subject/verb inversion (which, incidentally, it seems to me, only work because of the negative, which may be another clue to help you)

Tony M
France
Local time: 21:39
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 152
Grading comment
thanks! Couldn't agree more!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Jack Doughty
32 mins
  -> Thanks, Jack!

agree  Robert Fox: Except that I cannot imagine a situation where I would use the second part of the second example, other than by making it two sentences. It would then be a very forceful statement by the speaker.
2 hrs
  -> Thanks, Robert! Exactly, I think the sentence is fundamentally flawed.

agree  Craig Meulen: Good explanation as usual, Tony. I consider both of the asker's second examples to be unclear and if they were in my students' work I would question them. Re-ordering them makes it much clearer, as you suggest.
4 hrs
  -> Thanks a lot, Craig! Couldn't agree more!

agree  Alexander Demyanov
7 hrs
  -> Spasibo, Alexander!
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