do I shudder... or I do shudder...?

flowersophy

Senior Member
Chinese-China
Hi,
In the following sentence, why is "do" put before "I"? I don't think it is an interrogative sentence.

Only years later, when this scene comes to mind again, do I shudder at the hair’s breadth closeness of a disastrous outcome… if that pellet had not gone hissing off into harmless distance.
(Quoted from a novel Anthills, Elephants and Other Fascinations by Rina Flanagan)

Thanks very much!
 
  • Chez

    Senior Member
    English English
    It's not an interrogative sentence. It is stylistic. It's rather old-fashioned, but it is a recognised pattern.

    In more modern writing we'd probably say something like:

    It's only years later that I shudder...
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    In the following sentence, why is "do" put before "I"? I don't think it is an interrogative sentence.

    Only years later, when this scene comes to mind again, do I shudder at the hair’s breadth closeness of a disastrous outcome… if that pellet had not gone hissing off into harmless distance.
    (Quoted from a novel Anthills, Elephants and Other Fascinations by Rina Flanagan)
    Here are a couple useful threads about inversion:

    http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/inversion-after-certain-words-required.2275129/
    http://forum.wordreference.com/thre...on-adverbial-fronting-with-inversion.3012929/

    There are many other threads (look inversion up in the WRF dictionary for a list), though most will probably not be helpful in this case.
     
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