1. Peter doesn't usually get up before seven.
2. Peter usually doesn't get up before seven.

Which one of the above examples is more appropriate. I personally think that 2nd example is more pertinent because it stresses upon Peter's not getting up befor seven whereas the 1st example doesn't put much stress upon his not getting up before seven. Rather it only stresses upon getting up. Although when the sentence is read completely both of them aren't much different but the 2nd one (in my opinion) has a greater amount of stress regarding the subject at hand. May be I am wrong. Please help.


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Comments  (Page 4) 
CalifJimOperators are the modals, forms of be, and forms of do or have when these are not the main verb.

This means

Operators are the modals, all forms of be in any circumstances, main verb or not, and do or have when these (do and have) are not the main verb.

[This is not the same as

Operators are the modals and forms of be, do, and have when these are not the main verb.]

It is American usage that I have described above.

British usage allows inversion with main-verb have, so in British English, main-verb have may be added to the list of operators. Have you an extra pen I might borrow? Americans understand this passively, but don't often generate it.

That is why you will find conflicting information on operators, particularly have.

Yes, the examples I gave were the unmarked versions.

To show be as an operator in a progressive tense context I might have included the following.

I am usually sunning myself in the back yard at 2 in the afternoon if the weather is good.

So now I think you can see why the following statement is not correct.

Sorry guys. I don't know how the hell I overlooked it. Although I read that post but I think I was too excited when I got that list of rules.
Well sorry once again.

After carefully reading all the posts again and the article mentioned by CJ, I conclude that operators are all those verbs (all auxiliaries main verbs and modals) that allow subject verb inversion.
So to define operators we can say that;
  • An operator could be a verb that acts as main verb in a sentence (verb to be)
  • An operator could be a verb which acts as an auxiliary in a sentence. (verb to be, to have , to do)
  • To distinguish them from other verbs we can say all such verbs (defined above) that allow subject verb inversion are operators.

Am I right?


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CJ also said that in British usage, have can be used as an operator when it's the main verb of the sentence. So, how would we convert the following assertive sentence into interrogative sentence according to the American rules.

I have a pen.
(Have I a pen?) (British)
(DO I have a pen?) (American)

Is the above mentioned convertion (American) is correct?

My understanding is that Have I/you a pen? is British, yes. But Do I/you have a pen? is not exclusively American. It is used in British English as well.

So I would say:

Have you a pen? British
Do you have a pen? American and British

Verify with a native speaker of British English.

Well .. I confronted another problem. We know that in American English, "have" alone is not and operator and can't be used in inversion. But what about short answers with ellipsis?

I don't like pancakes. Neither do I [like pancakes].

I think it is acceptable regarding both British and American English. But can you identify some other examples of ellipsis, other than the short answers, where inversion with have and do is possible when they are used alone.
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verbs that allow subject inversion (...) are called 'operators.'

Operators are the modals, forms of be, and forms of do or have when these are not the main verb.

Personally, I've been feeling quite uneasy at this usage of the term 'operator.' I wonder if I could change it slightly to something like: semantic operations such as interrogation, negation, emphasis etc. are carried by them.


Peter doesn t usually get up before seven