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Interactive video lesson plan for: BBC Masterclass: Inversion 2: Reduced conditionals and more

Activity overview:

In this Masterclass, Dan's going to show you more about inversion including reduced conditionals and adverbs of place or movement.
For more, visit our website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish/english/course/towards-advanced/unit-26/session-1

TRANSCRIPT


Under no circumstances should you stop watching this video! Only here will you get the full inversion explanation 2. Are you ready? Let’s invert!
Inversion happens in English for emphasis, dramatic purpose or formality. In order to invert, the subject verb object order of a normal sentence is changed in some way. Let’s find out how. Go!

So, by now you should be familiar with the conditional forms of English. These sentences usually start with if and relate to the result or possible result of a real or imagined action. So, for example:

If you go to town, will you get me a cola?
If I were an animal, I would be a dog.
If I had stayed longer, I would have learned a new language.

However, in second and third conditionals we can remove the if and invert the subject and auxiliary verb. So:

Were I an animal, I would be a dog.
Had I stayed longer, I would have learned a new language.

Got it? To invert a first conditional in this way, we need to use the word ‘should’. Should makes a first conditional more polite and more tentative. So:

If you should go into town, will you get me a cola?

Now to invert we just remove the ‘if’ and invert the subject and auxiliary verb as normal. So:

Should you go in to town, will you get me a cola?

It's also worth remembering that negatives in these forms are not contracted. So:

Should you not go into town…
Were I not a human…
Had I not left so early…

When an adverb of place or movement is put at the beginning of a clause, then the whole verb phrase, and not just the auxiliary verb, can be put before the subject. This is done for dramatic effect and is usually conveyed in a written style and even more so when introducing a new noun. So, for example:

The spy came through the window,
becomes more dramatic with the inversion:
Through the window came the spy.

300 men would stand in the pass,
becomes more dramatic with the inversion:
In the pass would stand 300 men.

This style of inversion is more common in speech with words like here, and there and small adverbials. For example:

There sat my father.
On ran the racers.
I opened the box and out jumped a puppy!

But, if you use a pronoun, it’s important that you put the pronoun before the verb. So:

Not: There sat my father. But: There he sat.
Not: On ran the racers. But: On they ran.
I opened the box and out jumped a puppy. Or: …out it jumped.

Got it?

So beautiful was she that I fell in love immediately

We can use so plus an adjective, then we invert the normal subject and auxiliary verb, and finally we use ‘that’ to describe how strongly something’s description affected us and what the consequence was. So beautiful was she that I fell in love. We can do the same thing with a noun using such:

Such a beautiful woman was she that I fell in love immediately.

Got it? Did you get it? Of course you got it. For more information please go to bbclearning.com. I’ve been Dan, you’ve been fantastic. Let’s invert. See you on the flip side, guys!

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