"Never before have I seen such a smart girl"

Hi pp, i have a question n really looking forward for someone to helping me.
That is: Do we have “Never have I seen before such a smart girl.” Although I know the right one is “Never before have I seen such a smart girl”, i still question if “Never before have I seen such a smart girl” is right or not. If not, where’s the point???
Plz reply me as soon as possible.
Thank you.

From ToAmaranthe.

Hi Toamaranthe

Both versions of that phrase are acceptable. though you are correct to indicate that the second is the grammatically correct one.
The placement of ‘before’ depends on how you want to emphasise your words.

The word order in the following sentence is natural:

In the sentence above, the idea of ‘never before’ is stressed. When a sentence is introduced in this way with a negative adverb (or phrase), the subject and verb must be inverted.

I can’t speak for British English, but to my American ear, the placement of the word ‘before’ in the following sentence is quite unnatural:
*[color=red]Never have I seen before such a smart girl.

If you don’t want to use the word ‘before’ together with ‘never’ at the beginning of the sentence, then a better location for ‘before’ would be at the end of the sentence – i.e. leave it exactly where it would usually be in a sentence with no inversion:

  • I have never seen such a smart girl before.
  • Never have I seen such a beautiful girl before.

[size=75]“The sensibility of man to trifles, and his insensibility to great things, indicates a strange inversion.” ~ Blaise Pascal[/size]


Inversion when ‘never before’ starts the sentence is perfectly natural. ‘Never have I seen before such a…’ jars on the ear as the listener is waiting for an object and not an adverb, especially having heard the inversion.


Thank you all so much for answering this question for me. That helps me a lot.