Inverted verb and subject after "so"

Hi. I did a test recently and I am very puzzled about a question in it. Here it is:
Question #: 1: So good were they that we ate them all. This is correct.
User’s answer: False
Correct answer: True
Additional Notes: We invert the verb and subject if the sentence starts with SO + Adjective

Please, explain this to me.

Inverted word order, SkiIucK, is used here for emphasis :wink:

Hi SkiIucK

There are some “standard” situations where subject and verb are inverted in English. When a sentence begins with the following words, you need to invert:

  • Never
  • Seldom
  • Rarely
  • Not only
  • No sooner
  • Only after/when/then
  • So + adjective
  • If-sentence without the word if

Would you like to try to create a sentence of your own for each of those? :wink:

There may be more that I could add to the list that I haven’t thought of, but I think those ought to keep you busy for a while. :smiley:


Pamela is right. These structures are usually used for emphasis.

Hi, Yankee and Pamela!
Thanks for your reponses. There is something that I still do not understand. Is it obligatory to invert those parts of the speech whenever I use them?


Yes is the simple answer when they start the sentence. In other words: It rarely happens but Rarely does it happen.

Hi SkiIucK

Were I to answer your question with “No”, I wouldn’t be telling you the truth.

Should you decide to try your luck writing a few of your own sentences, I will be happy to correct them.

Only when beginning a sentence with one of these words or phrases do you have to worry about inversion.

No sooner does someone ask a question here in the forum than it is answered. :smiley:


Hi. Greatly appreciated all of your responses, but hardly can I conceive an inverted sentence. :shock:

Hi SkiIucK

You won’t hear this sort of sentence inversion too often in casual speech. It’s a bit on the formal side. The structure is also a bit difficult for ESL students to learn.


Not only does your English seem to be good enough to cope with these inverted sentences, but you’ve already given it a good try. :wink:

It’s just a matter of practice and paying attention to what you read.