Not Only / But Also

Not only and but also normally go immediately before the words or expressions that they modify.

  • She is not only rich but also famous. (Here we use two adjectives – rich, famous – after ‘not only’ and ‘but also’.)
  • He visited not only France but also Switzerland. (Here we use two nouns – France and Switzerland – after ‘not only’ and ‘but also’.)
  • He not only insulted her in front of her friends but also threatened to beat her up. (Here we use two verbs – insulted, threatened – after ‘not only’ and ‘but also’.)
  • He was not only upset but also angry.
  • The place was not only good, but also safe.
  • She is not only a good wife, but also a good mother.
  • She speaks not only English, but also French.

Mid position with verb is also possible.

  • She not only speaks English, but also French.

For emphasis not only can be moved to the beginning of a clause. Note that we use the inverted word order ‘not only + auxiliary verb + subject’. But can be left out in some cases.

  • She was not only sad, but also angry.
  • Not only was she sad; she was also angry.
  • They not only need food, but also shelter.
  • Not only do they need food, but they also need shelter.
  • Not only do they need food; they also need shelter.
Students often find it difficult to use the correlative conjunction not only — but also correctly.

When you use not only — but also in a sentence, you have to ensure that not only and but also go immediately before the words or expressions that they modify.

  • She is not only intelligent but also beautiful.

When using a correlative conjunction, both clauses have to be parallel. That means you have to use them before two nouns, two adjectives, two verbs etc. Study the following examples.

  • They need not only food but also shelter. (Here we use nouns (food and shelter) after not only and but also.)
  • She is not only rich but also generous. (Here we use adjectives (rich and generous) after not only and but also.)
  • My uncle not only brought me to the city but also found a good job for me. (Here we use verb phrases after not only and but also.)

Not only can go at the beginning of a sentence. In this case, it is followed by auxiliary verb + subject. If there is no other auxiliary verb, we use do. But can be left out in this case.

  • Not only did my uncle bring me to the city, but he also found a good job for me.

OR

  • Not only did my uncle bring me to the city; he also found a good job for me.
  • Not only is Jack working at a pub, but he is also doing his graduation.

OR

  • Not only is Jack working at a pub; he is also doing his graduation.
  • Not only is Susan going to England, but she is also going to France.

OR

  • Not only is Susan going to England; she is also going to France.
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Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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