Know inversion with negative adverbials: Never

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Never have I heard such a sound

Frankly, the Negative Adverbial “never” is not often used. 

Yet, when the Adverbial “never” is uttered, it causes the sentence to be dramatic. 

Here’s a short story with the Negative Adverbial “never.” 

It’s a quiet Sunday. Ann is drinking her morning tea and reading the paper. Typical headlines are printed in black ink across the page: Firefighters Save Cat from Tree and etc. Ann thinks to herself as she reads, there’s really nothing going on today.

But suddenly, there’s a loud crash! In shock, Ann looks up from her paper and says “Never have I heard such a sound!” Worried there was an earthquake, Ann investigates.

It was just chopsticks and a bowl falling from the dryer. 

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Notice how Ann used the Negative Adverbial “never” to express her state of shock over the loud noise. There are many ways she could’ve expressed shock, but using a Negative Adverbial was appropriate for the situation.

A bit about grammar

Where should I put the Negative Adverbial Never in a full sentence?

To use an Inversion with the Negative Adverbial “never,” follow this simple formula. 

Adverbial PronounVerb  Adjective Noun
Never haveIheardsuch a loudnoise. 
Never havetheyeatensuch awfulfood. 
Never havewebeen treatedso poorly. 

Examples of the Adverbial Never

Never have I seen such a beautiful painting. 

Never have they encountered such behavior. 

Never had Oscar met such a wonderful person.

Let’s practice 

Q1: Convert the sentence “I have never seen such a wonderful view” to a sentence with inversion. 

Answer: Never have I seen such a wonderful view.

Q2: Try making your own sentence. 

Q3: Never have I spent Christmas alone. How do you spend the holidays?

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