Posts Tagged ‘not only’

Not only … but also

August 11th, 2011 in Improve English

Not only…but also has a similar meaning to as well as. In this structure not only and but also go immediately before the words or expressions that they modify.

They not only looted the shop, but also set fire to it.
She not only sings, but also dances.
Not only James, but Peter also got a prize.
He visited not only France but also Germany.

Also is sometimes omitted.

He was not only brave but also prudent. OR He was not only great but prudent.

Mid-position with verb is also possible.
She not only plays the piano, but also the violin. (Here not only goes with the verb plays.)
She plays not only the piano, but also the violin. (Here not only and but also go before the words piano and violin.)

Not only can be moved to the beginning of a clause for emphasis. It is then followed by auxiliary verb + subject. Do is used if there is no other auxiliary.

Not only do they need clothing, but they also need shelter. (OR They not only need clothing, but also shelter.) (OR They need not only clothing, but also shelter.)

The structure ‘not only…but also’ is not common in informal English. Other structures are preferred.