Beginning a sentence with words like never, only and hardly


The following sentence appeared in a recent essay I corrected.

Only in recent years, people start to “break the walls” between genders.

There are several mistakes with it. The student used the simple present instead of the present perfect. The verb should have been ‘have started’ instead of ‘start’

Also the student failed to use inversion.

The above has to be written as:

Only in recent years have we started ‘breaking the walls’ between the genders.

When we begin a sentence with ‘only’ or a negative word like hardly, seldom, rarely, never or little, we use the inverted word order. That means the auxiliary verb goes before the subject.

Only in recent years have we started… (NOT Only in recent we have started…)

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