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Are these two conditionals used interchangeably to refer to something imaginary in the past?

-If we had known your names we would have given you a buzz.
-Had we known your names we would have given you a buzz.
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Yes, they are; but the "inversion" sounds more formal. Check these:

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Hope this helps! Emotion: smile

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Lol, Raul, I am impressed by the quality of your examples. Un abrazo.
Raúl,

this is very interesting for me:
Is the inversion in these cases correct?
I was always taught that inversion in English is actually not possible, but I discovered that e.g. after a direct speech sentence it is possible to inverse like this:

"It's ok." said the man instead of "It's ok." the man said.

The reason for why I ask is that in German you have to inverse in all these cases.

I wonder whether this inversion in today's English is perhaps a left-over from ancient English?!
Is or was it also possible to inverse when asking a question instead of using the "to do"-paraphrasing e.g.:
'Had you a good night?' instead of 'Did you have a good night?'

Unfortunately, I couldn't manage it yet to take some Old- or Middle-English classes, but it seems you've some knowledge about that, so maybe you can cast some light on that? Emotion: smile
Thank you very much!
Thanks for the "abrazo" Maj. Emotion: smile

On the other hand:

> ...I couldn't manage it yet to take some Old- or Middle-English classes, but it seems you've some knowledge about that.

"Old" English? are you calling me old???????!!!!!! Emotion: wink

Honestly, I'd love to learn some Old and Middle English grammar. I plan to get a good book about it soon. Anyway, this "inversion" issue is not a matter of the language age, it's just style. In every-day speech you rarely use inversion, unless you do want to sound formal or emphatic. But this is very common in literary English to create an effect.

Thanks for your nice comments! Emotion: smile
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Hello,

Sorry for intruding in this discussion, but your question is similar to one I was addressing a few days ago. If I may proceed... To say 'Had you a good night?' is correct because English questions must begin with an auxiliary verb - 'had,' like 'do' and 'be' is both an auxiliary and main verb, so it can begin questions.

However, the 'do' verb in modern English is pushing out the 'have', and is now normally appended to 'have' in questions, which makes 'have' questions sound archaic; yet, it is still heard from time to time and totally accepted, like in "have you a moment?'

As for your comment about inversions in English, there are MANY situations where inversions occur. The example with the reduced conditional clause is just one. The most obvious inversion occurs in sentences we have just talked about - questions. Another common situation is with expletives, like:
It is a chair. or
There goes my brother. or even
Here lies the truth.

Other situations are variations with negative adverbials, like in
Rarely have I seen such beauty. or
On no account will he sign the contract.

Using 'only' and 'not only'
Only if she attends will I go. or
Not only is the weather hot, but it is also humid.

Prepositional phrases of place
Through the middle of London flows the Thames.

Prepositions of direction
Down went the walls, and up went our flag.

And using 'so'
So beautiful is she.

Obviously, many inversions are better suited for poetic use rather than everyday discourse. Anyway, there are likely some I have overlooked, but I hope this helps.
You are welcome in the discussion! Emotion: smile

What you say is correct. The inversion is used in many situations. Verbs like "have", "need" and "dare" are pretty special though. Depending on where you are you may hear:

A: Do you need help?
B: No, I don't. Thanks.

or

A: Need you help?
B: No, I needn't. Thanks.

Is this inversion? No, it's just that he verb "need" is also a modal, mainly in BrE. But I think we agree that true inversion is used rhetorically in most of the cases.

Keep in mind that although we are taught Standard English, there are variations which we cannot ignore nor dismiss.

Thanks for your comments! Emotion: smile
>>Anyway, this "inversion" issue is not a matter of the language age, it's just style. In every-day speech you rarely use inversion, unless you do want to sound formal or emphatic. But this is very common in literary English to create an effect.

Are you sure about that?
Inversion is to be used very often in German, esp. in subordinate clauses while in English you wouldn't inverse e.g.

Ich war krank.
lit: I was sick.
but:
Ich konnte nicht kommen, weil ich krank war.
lit: I could not come, because I sick was. (I couldn't come because I was sick).

This is actually the only correct way to say - but: It has become very common in the last years (-> until now only after the conjunction "weil"=because) to drop this inversion here:

Ich konnte nicht kommen, weil ich war krank. (... because I was sick).
This is wrong, esp. in written German and it doesn't sound very good either, but in spoken German, this form becomes more and more common.

So maybe it's just another way of simplification, maybe language tends to drop inversion because it's too difficult?!

I think I'll compare this to Middle-English. It seems that in Middle-English inversions were more common than they are in current English - that's perhaps also the reason why it sounds rather poetical when using an inversion.
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>>Sorry for intruding in this discussion, but your question is similar to one I was addressing a few days ago. If I may proceed... To say 'Had you a good night?' is correct because English questions must begin with an auxiliary verb - 'had,' like 'do' and 'be' is both an auxiliary and main verb, so it can begin questions.

'do' and 'have' occur as auxiliaries (but then always with a full verb!) when you have to form tenses.

SIMPLE tenses do not require an auxiliary except when they are negated:

I work, I go, I do, I have; I worked, I went, I did, I had
-> all these verbs are full verbs, including have and do.

When you want to put these sentences in the negative or ask questions, you have to use the auxiliary "do" to do that, i.e. instead of negating the actual full verb, you negate the helping verb while the full verb remains:
I don't/ didn't work, I don't/ didn't go, I don't/ didn't do, I don't/ didn't have
Do/ did you work, go, do, have...?

PERFECT tenses need "have" to build the forms:

I have worked, I have gone, I have done, I have had
I had worked, I had gone, I had done, I had had
-> here the 1st verb (have/had) is the auxiliary while the 2nd forms (worked, gone, done, had) are full verbs.

When negating or asking, you again just negate the auxiliary "have" and not the full verb:
I haven't worked, I haven't gone, I haven't done, I haven't had
I hadn't worked, I hadn't gone, I hadn't done, I hadn't have.
Have/ had you worked, gone, done, had...?

---> "Had you a good night?" then is actually not correct because "had" in this case is a full verb! Therefore it should be "Have you had a good night?" (<- 'have' auxiliary, 'had' full verb).


Interesting that "be" doesn't have to have an auxiliary, it is negated itself in simple tenses:
I am not, he isn't, we weren't instead of: I don't be, he doesn't be, we didn't be.
--> This is btw it goes with every verb (no matter if auxiliary or full verb) in German, e.g.:
Ich bin nicht (lit: I am not)
er geht nicht (lit: he goes not ->he doesn't go)
ich habe nicht (lit: I have not -> I don't have)
er arbeitet nicht (lit: he works not -> he doesn't work)...

--->However, the 'do' verb in modern English is pushing out the 'have', and is now normally appended to 'have' in questions, which makes 'have' questions sound archaic; yet, it is still heard from time to time and totally accepted, like in "have you a moment?'

So according to what I explained just before and what you explained right above, maybe it is definately an old stylish form to build up negative or interrogative sentences and the unnecessary of using an auxiliary remains from former Old- or Middle- English??

Well, I'll try to check it out Emotion: smile
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