So once we get into the advanced realms of the English language we get into the ring with the more complex of its many quirks, namely the use of inversion as a replacement for our trusted friend ‘if’. For most, inversion itself shouldn’t be a new contender. However, you may have previously only come into contact with it in negatives. Here is a link to a fantastic website to practise that specific area.
The issue with inversion in conditionals is that it doesn’t follow exactly the same rules. Why not? Because it’s English.
- In first conditionals we can invert with ‘should’:
Should it rain later, you will need an umbrella= If it rains later, you will need an umbrella. (Note when using ‘should’ the ‘s’ is dropped from ‘rain’)
- In second conditionals we can invert with ‘was’/’were’:
Were unicorns real, the world would be a little more fabulous = If unicorns were real, the world would be a little bit more fabulous.
Were cockroaches to become extinct, no one would mind = If cockroaches became extinct, no one would mind. (Note we use were + subject + infinitive)
- In third conditionals we can invert with the auxiliary ‘had’:
Had Mr Darcy been less surly, Elizabeth Bennett would have fallen in love with him earlier = If Mr Darcy had been less surly, Elizabeth Bennett would have fallen in love with him earlier.