Cleft and Inversion: Only After

Exp

Senior Member
Japanese
  1. He went home only after the war was over.
  2. It was only after the war was over that he went home (cleft).
  3. Only after the war was over did he go home (inversion).
Are the above three sentences all grammatically correct?
 
  • natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I would call the third sentence as one which shows the phenomenon of fronting. In other words, some element other than the subject has been moved to the front of the clause. (See Fronting - English Grammar Today - Cambridge Dictionary.)

    If the fronted element is an adverbial in the negative ('not ...', 'hardly ...', 'seldom ...'), a verb needs to follow it.
     

    billj

    Senior Member
    British English
    1. He went home only after the war was over.
    2. It was only after the war was over that he went home (cleft).
    3. Only after the war was over did he go home (inversion).
    Are the above three sentences all grammatically correct?
    Yes: they are all fine.

    3. has subject-auxiliary inversion. This occurs in declarative clauses only when certain types of element are put in front position. Negatives are one very obvious type of element that trigger subject-auxiliary inversion when fronted:
    Never had I seen such chaos.
    At no stage were they in danger.


    "Only" is not negative, but it is semantically close to a negative, in that "Only John liked it", for example, entails "No one other than John liked it".
     
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