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Inversion makes you sexy. Use it!

Inversion is often blamed to be too formal and too difficult.

Nothing can be further from the truth!

Last week in my Cambridge C1 group we explored the nuances of this advanced grammar structure. The question was raised whether inversion can only be used in formal writing?

Of course not!

Well, never would I use inversion in academic writing, let alone in my thesis! OK, this is not true, because inverted conditionals are typically formal, and there are other exceptions, but we will come back to this later.

Now I am here to debunk the myth that inversion is mainly to be used in formal contexts.

What is inversion?

It may sound like just another grammatical concept, but it's far more than that. It's a versatile tool that can add sophistication and depth to your writing and speaking, setting you apart as a skilled communicator – and probably that is why most learners mistake them for formal English.

We use inversion for emphasis and dramatic purpose. And yes, sometimes for formality. 

How to form inversion?

To invert a sentence, move the adverbial to the beginning of the sentence and invert the subject and auxiliary verb.

The word order is the following: adverb (inversion phrase) + auxiliary + subject + verb

I have never met someone so interesting and beautiful as you.’ 

Inversion: Never have I met someone so interesting and beautiful as you.’

What happens when there is no auxiliary in the original sentence?

Well, of couse: we add one!

‘I rarely go out with someone so sexy.’ 

Inversion:  Rarely do I go out with someone so sexy.’

Let’s see some more sexy inversions:

1. Not for a moment did I think I'd meet someone as smart and charming as you.

2. Little did I know that behind that shy vibe, you're hiding a heart of gold.

3. Only by mustering up the guts to ask you out can we see where this crazy adventure takes us.

4. Not until I got home did I fully appreciate how much your sense of humour adds to my life.

5. Not since I met you have I been so impressed by someone's kindness.

6. Not only are you extremely handsome, but you're also incredibly smart!

7. Under no circumstances could I resist the urge to sneak a moment alone with you.

8. Little did I expect to find someone who makes my heart do cartwheels every time I see her.

9. Only by talking with you did I realize how intelligent and lovely you are.

10. Such was the magic of your smile that it could make even the grumpiest of souls crack a grin.


OK, now I can hear people screaming in the back: but what about inversion in formal context?

Here you go!

Inversion isn't just reserved for informal writing and everyday conversations. Let’s see some formal sentences. These sentences can be useful for more formal contexts, such as reports, proposals or essays.

Inversion in formal contexts:


1. Only after thorough consideration of budget allocations can we make an informed decision about school improvements.

2. Not until the project's completion did the true extent of its impact on employee productivity become evident to management.

3. Seldom do we find such meticulously planned training sessions for employees, ensuring thorough understanding and skill development.

4. Rarely do students encounter such a comprehensive analysis of study techniques and exam preparation strategies.

5. Little did the marketing team anticipate the magnitude of the findings in consumer behaviour analysis.


Inversion is not just about following rules; it's about understanding the art of language manipulation. By mastering inversion, you'll be able to craft sentences that are not only grammatically correct but are also able to stress the main message of the speaker/writer.

In the Cambridge C1/C2 exam, you have to showcase your language sophistication: inversion can help you do just that. When used strategically, inversion can emphasize key points and convey nuanced tones, while elevating your communication effectiveness, showcasing your advanced grammar skills. However, it's crucial to avoid the overuse of inversions!

Examiners prioritize clarity and coherence, and excessive inversion may obscure the message and make you sound waaaaaay too unnatural.

All in all, Incorporating inversion into your language toolkit adds depth and sophistication to your expression, whether you're chatting with friends over coffee or writing an essay. Inversion can take your language skills from good to outstanding in no time.

So, why not use them? 😊





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