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When are you able place the subject after the verb in a sentence which is not a quest

 

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Old November 29, 2010, 11:03 PM
MarkRamsey MarkRamsey is offline
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When are you able place the subject after the verb in a sentence which is not a quest

I've noticed that in the following sentence " The dormitory was completely silent, and, had he been less preoccupied, Harry have realised that the absence of Neville's usual snores meant that he was not the only one lying awake". There is an inversion of verb and subject in the second line of this paragraph and I've been always taught to tell the verb after the subject if I don't want make a question. So I don't understand because It's said "...; had he been less preoccupied...". I'd be very grateful to you if you could explain to me the why.
By the way maybe I have just made some mistakes. English is not my mother tongue. However I hope that you could help me.
Thank you very much.
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  #2  
Old November 30, 2010, 02:11 AM
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Perikles Perikles is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkRamsey View Post
I've noticed that in the following sentence " The dormitory was completely silent, and, had he been less preoccupied, Harry would have realised that the absence of Neville's usual snores meant that he was not the only one lying awake". There is an inversion of verb and subject in the second line of this paragraph and I've been always taught to tell the verb after the subject if I don't want make a question. So I don't understand because It's said "...; had he been less preoccupied...". I'd be very grateful to you if you could explain to me the why.
By the way maybe I have just made some mistakes. English is not my mother tongue. However I hope that you could help me.
Thank you very much.
There is no rule in English grammar (except this one ) which does not have an exception. The verb order here is a special case of inversion in a subjunctive mood expressing a hypothetical situation.

had he been less preoccupied
is identical to
if he had been less preoccupied

This is used only in cases when something did not happen:

I would have been famous, had I practised the piano more (...but I didn't)
I would have made a meal had I known you were going to visit ( ... but I didn't know)

Does that help? By the way, Harry Potter is terrible English - the Spanish translation is much better.
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Old December 13, 2010, 02:50 AM
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JPablo JPablo is offline
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Wow, welcome MarkRamsey, and thank you Perikles for the explanation... (I had no idea of the "terribility" of Harry Potter in English... I thought it was terrific, given the ample dissemination these books have experienced...)
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Old December 13, 2010, 08:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perikles View Post
Does that help? By the way, Harry Potter is terrible English - the Spanish translation is much better.
I thought about trying to use Harry Potter to improve my Spanish reading, but I was concerned that reading made up words and things (all the magical creations) would just make it more difficult. Did you find the Spanish translation clean and usable for learning?
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Old December 13, 2010, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Awaken View Post
I thought about trying to use Harry Potter to improve my Spanish reading, but I was concerned that reading made up words and things (all the magical creations) would just make it more difficult. Did you find the Spanish translation clean and usable for learning?
Very much so. Clear simple prose, with a nice touch of humour. There are a lot of very useful constructions using the subjunctive, of the kind I would not have done that if I had known.. and a vast amount of basic useful vocabulary. The 'specialist' magic vocabulary is fairly small and easy to grasp. I would recommend it for the learner in Spanish, starting with the first book.
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Old December 13, 2010, 01:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perikles View Post
Very much so. Clear simple prose, with a nice touch of humour. There are a lot of very useful constructions using the subjunctive, of the kind I would not have done that if I had known.. and a vast amount of basic useful vocabulary. The 'specialist' magic vocabulary is fairly small and easy to grasp. I would recommend it for the learner in Spanish, starting with the first book.
Good to know. That would be more fun than reading other random stories.
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Old December 13, 2010, 03:09 PM
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I listened to the first Harry Potter book in Spanish (by Salamandra editors) and it was quite a pleasure... (Highly recommended!)
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