"did I" or "I did"

deslenguada

Senior Member
Castellano
Is there any difference between saying

"not only did I send company electronic mails but regular letters as well."

and

"not only I did send company electronic mails but regular letters as well."


Is it just a style issue?


Thank you.
 
  • deslenguada

    Senior Member
    Castellano
    But why?

    Is because there is more emphasis in the first one?
    I can never say the second one?

    And what about "not only I sent company electronic mails but regular letters as well."

    Does this one sound odd too your ears as well?

    Thanks.
     

    fernandotorres

    Senior Member
    India -Marathi and English
    But why?

    Is because there is more emphasis in the first one?
    I can never say the second one?

    And what about "not only I sent company electronic mails but regular letters as well."

    Does this one sound odd too your ears as well?

    Thanks.
    See,it is beyond my ken explaining to you why it is wrong,but it is simply incorrect english .It is grammatically incorrect to say "not only I sent"The only way of saying it is "Not only did I send"
     

    LouisaB

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    Hi, deslenguada,

    It's hard for me too, but I'll have a go.

    The 'not only...but also' structure is indeed for emphasis. Here it is the action that is being stressed (the sending) so 'not only' must always immediately precede the verb.

    Thus you can say either

    'I not only sent e-mails, but regular letters as well' (verb = send)

    OR

    'Not only did I send e-mails, but regular letters as well'. (verb = did...send)

    The second is even more emphatic, because the whole sentence begins with the stress indicator 'Not only'.

    fernandotorres is absolutely right. You can't ever say 'Not only I sent...' in this case.

    Sorry!

    Louisa
     

    cincotigre

    New Member
    US -- English
    Unfortunately, some things in English do not even make sense to native English speakers. I don't know why "not only I did send" is wrong, but I have never heard anyone say it.

    I would say "I not only sent the company electronic mails, but...." or "I sent the company not only electronic mails, but...". Either is correct.

    In general, use "sent" instead of "did send"...unless you are asked "Did you send the electonic mails?" or told "You did not send the electronic mails." (Yes, I DID send them.) "Did send" is slightly stronger and implies that you are trying to prove (against doubt) that you sent the electronic mails. The difference is subtle.
     

    TrentinaNE

    Senior Member
    USA
    English (American)
    See other threads about not only... but also... What follows each should be parallel in structure. So
    I sent the company not only email but also regular letters is correct, but
    I not only sent the company email but also regular letters is not correct.
    In the latter, but also needs to be followed by a verb to maintain parallel structure with the verb "sent" after not only, e.g.,
    I not only sent the company email but also telephoned them several times.

    :)
    Elisabetta
     

    cincotigre

    New Member
    US -- English
    Okay Trentina, thanks for clarifying.

    So, if the verbs are the same for both objects (sent the e-mails and sent the letters) then "not only....but" is placed after the verb.

    'I sent the company not only e-mails but also letters.'

    If the verbs are different (sent the e-mails and telephoned) then "not only" must preceed the verbs, and both verbs must be used.

    'I not only sent the company e-mails but also telephoned them.'
     

    pieanne

    Senior Member
    Belgium/French
    I'm not sure it has to do with different verbs... but rather with the place you put "not only".

    Now, when talking about affirmative sentences, what can we start one with, and keep the Subject + V order after it?

    With a subordinate clause: When I was young, blah blah...
    With a complement: Last week, ...
    With some kinds of adverbs: Yesterday, I....

    But I think when it comes to frequency adverbs, if you want to start your sentence with one, an auxiliary must come in the second place, then the subject, and then the rest of the verb, complts, etc...
     

    marget

    Senior Member
    I'm not sure it has to do with different verbs... but rather with the place you put "not only".

    Now, when talking about affirmative sentences, what can we start one with, and keep the Subject + V order after it?

    With a subordinate clause: When I was young, blah blah...
    With a complement: Last week, ...
    With some kinds of adverbs: Yesterday, I....

    But I think when it comes to frequency adverbs, if you want to start your sentence with one, an auxiliary must come in the second place, then the subject, and then the rest of the verb, complts, etc...

    Wow, that's complicated. It sounds like something I learned in German class! Of course not all adverbs of frequency can begin a sentence. It's interesting I can begin with never and seldom, but not with always. However, if we begin with sometimes, there is no inversion. Go figure!
     

    pieanne

    Senior Member
    Belgium/French
    Wow, that's complicated. It sounds like something I learned in German class! Of course not all adverbs of frequency can begin a sentence. It's interesting I can begin with never and seldom, but not with always. However, if we begin with sometimes, there is no inversion. Go figure!
    Well, I did learn German :eek:
    All I wanted to say is I'm sure there's a rule for this, but I do realize I'm not the one who's gonna reconstruct it! :)
     

    marget

    Senior Member
    Well, I did learn German :eek:
    All I wanted to say is I'm sure there's a rule for this, but I do realize I'm not the one who's gonna reconstruct it! :)

    I will try to piece it together. Never did I think I would be doing this! Seldom have I thought about it, but I always like to try to solve these deep mysteries of life!;)
     

    pieanne

    Senior Member
    Belgium/French
    Now, I've found this:

    (Inversions in English)
    When, in an emphatic or literary style, a negative (never, nowhere, not only, no sooner...), restrictive (hardly, seldom, only, little) or intensifying (often, well) term is put at the beginning of the sentence, then there's an inversion, and there has to be an auxiliary before the subject.
    Nowhere have I found such lovely pebbles.
    Seldom did he visit us...
     

    marget

    Senior Member
    Now, I've found this:

    (Inversions in English)
    When, in an emphatic or literary style, a negative (never, nowhere, not only, no sooner...), restrictive (hardly, seldom, only, little) or intensifying (often, well) term is put at the beginning of the sentence, then there's an inversion, and there has to be an auxiliary before the subject.
    Nowhere have I found such lovely pebbles.
    Seldom did he visit us...

    Good work, pieanne! :) How can we use well or often? Do you have examples?
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Well do I remember how a primary school teacher tried to instil English grammar in a young panj.

    Well do I remember walking up and down the hilly streets of San Francisco, ...
    Well do I recall the ecstasy, and the shame, ...
    Well do I recall going to bed, and watching him ...
    ... and so on.
    (British National Corpus)
     

    perfavore

    Senior Member
    USA
    Philippines - Tagalog
    But why?

    Is it because there is more emphasis in using the first one?
    I can never say the second one?

    And what about "not only I sent company electronic mails but regular letters as well."

    Does this one sound odd too your ears as well?

    Thanks.

    Yes, it will sound odd.
    perfavore
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Here's a link describing the 18:eek: different types of subject-verb inversion in English.

    I'm afraid I don't know what all the abbreviations stand for in the third column of the table (though I assume TOEFL is a course or exam in the Teaching of English as a Foreign Language); but the explanations look helpful, and the authors are particularly careful to explain when inversion is obligatory and when it's optional.

    Loob
     

    marget

    Senior Member
    Well do I remember how a primary school teacher tried to instil English grammar in a young panj.

    Well do I remember walking up and down the hilly streets of San Francisco, ...
    Well do I recall the ecstasy, and the shame, ...
    Well do I recall going to bed, and watching him ...
    ... and so on.
    (British National Corpus)

    Well, did I forget that structure or what?!:eek: Thanks for the examples.:)
     
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