Main Not Only But Also Takeaways:
- Not only…but also is a correlative conjunction. This means that this construction helps convey two related facts, thoughts, or pieces of information.
- It expresses unexpected or surprising information, with the second item being more surprising than the first.
- Use this construction to create parallelism by following each part of the expression with the same part of speech. This helps add balance and flow to your writing.
- In informal writing, you can omit the word also from the expression without changing the meaning of the sentence.
- Correlative conjunctions like not only…but also don’t require commas to separate the pairs.
- Replace not only…but also with synonyms like: moreover, besides, as well as, similarly, and equally important.
Her young daughter made friendsnot onlyin the parkbut alsoat the dentist’s office.
It’s crucial to focus not only on short-term gains but also on long-term growth.
Not only is she driven but also compassionate.
Not only but also is a two-part expression that’s used to create emphasis, convey unexpected information, or add balance to a sentence. See exactly how to use this phrase effectively with tips for parallelism and plenty of examples.
What Does not Only but Also Mean?
Not only…but also is a way to create parallelism in a sentence. This expression is a correlative conjunction, and is useful for linking two closely connected clauses. Basically, it sets up two related elements of a sentence. You know you’re using this pairing to correctly create parallelism when the same part of speech follows each part of the phrase. For example, if a verb comes after not only, then a verb should come after but also (He not only swims, but also rows). Similarly, if a noun follows not only, then a noun should follow but also (She is not only a doctor but also a lawyer). Use this construction to convey unexpected but related information. Or, to emphasize a surprising fact.
In a sentence, the actual construct of the expression looks like this: not onlythis…but alsothat.
Not only…but also is a correlative conjunction, or words or phrases that work together to link words, clauses, or phrases. They are similar to coordinating conjunctions but show a stronger connection between the linked ideas.
Petenot onlyworks at the pet shopbut alsovolunteers with a wild tiger rescue.
In this example, each part of the not only…but also expression precedes a verb phrase for parallelism.
His dog lovednot onlyfresh green beansbut alsofrozen zucchini.
In this example, a noun phrase follows both not only and but also to maintain parallelism.
How do you use Not Only in a Sentence?
You can use not only at the beginning of a clause. In this case, you should use not only followed by the verb (Not only is she sing a captivating dancer, but also a fantastic singer). You can also use not only in the middle of a sentence. In this case, there are two constructions you can can use. The first construction is: Subject + Verb + not only + but also (He made not only the decorations but also the costumes for the party). Alternatively, the second construction is: Subject + not only + Verb + but also (The investigation is not only on-going but also highly-classified).
Here are examples of how to use not only in a sentence:
Not onlyis the kid excellent in grammar,but she is alsoa whiz in math.
Not only is the chocolate ice creama fantastic choicebut alsothe cherry pie.
The plaid skirtnot only looks good with my white blouse but also with my red sweater.
Not only did the campus newspaper dedicate their issues to the college’s most beloved professor but also the literary magazine.
He not only wants to go on a sabbatical but also wants to pursue acting.
5 Ways to Use Not Only…But Also:
- Not only + verb + subject…but also…
- Not only + verb + subject…but + subject + also + verb…
- Subject + verb + not only…but also + verb…
- Subject + not only + verb…but also…
- Not only + verb + subject…but +subject + also…
Where do you put Not Only in a Sentence?
You can put not only at the beginning or in the middle of a sentence. When you start a sentence with not only, the phrase is the beginning of an introductory clause and is acting as the first part of a correlative conjunction. As a result, not only must be followed by but also (Not only is the shuttle fast but also economical). When it appears in the middle of a sentence, not only usually comes after the subject and the verb (Their cat eats not only strawberries but also bananas). However, it can also come between the subject and the verb (Their daughter not onlyplaysthe piano but also runs track).
(At the beginning of the sentence)Not only is the shuttle fast but also economical.
(In the middle of the sentence, split subject/verb) Their daughter not only plays the piano but also runs track.
(In the middle of the sentence)Their cat not only eats strawberries but also bananas.
Pro Tip: Although but also can be split, the same doesn’t hold true for not only. The first word pair in this two-part expression should never be split.
Can you start a Sentence with Not Only?
You can start a sentence with not only, but it must be followed by not also. This is because the expression not only..but also is a correlative conjunction that helps create parallelism, or balance, in a sentence. What’s more, when you start a sentence with not only, follow the not only with a verb (Not only were they polite but also kind). Therefore, the formula for using not only at the beginning of a sentence is: Not only + verb + subject…but also + subject + verb.
Not only he forgot my birthday but also he never apologized!
Not only did he forget my birthday but also he forgot to apologize!
Not only the children are inquisitive but also clever.
Not only are the children inquisitive but also clever.
Is There a Comma in Not Only But Also?
Normally, there is no comma in the construction not only…but also. This is because not only…but also is usually a correlative conjunction that helps create parallelism. Since correlative conjunctions don’t require commas to separate the pairs in the phrase, there is no comma in not only…but also (Not only did they bring drinks but also desserts!). However, you can add a comma to show additional emphasis, but this isn’t required (When planning a party, she considers the not only the quality of the products served, but also the presentation). In the end, adding a comma is a stylistic choice and not grammatically required.
Nicole isnot onlya great student, but also a first-rate athlete.
Nicole isnot onlya great student but also a first-rate athlete.
Note: Although no commas are needed when punctuating this pair, commas may be added in special circumstances for extra emphasis.
While rehearsing her speech, she practiced not only her mannerisms but also her pronunciation.
While rehearsing her speech, she practiced not only her mannerisms, but also her pronunciation.
How do you Replace Not Only But Also?
Here are 20 replacements and synonyms for the correlative conjunction not only but also:
- as well as
- in the same way
- in addition to
- what’s more
- equally important
- in fact
- as a result
Find more not only…but also synonyms in our master list of transition words.
Examples of Sentences Using Synonyms for Not Only But Also:
Erin wanted not only a stable job but also a rewarding career.
This sentence shows the correct usage of not only…but also. There are, however, other ways of expressing a similar sentiment.
Erin wanted a stable job. Equally important, she wanted a rewarding career.
In addition to a stable job, Erin wanted a rewarding career.
Erin wanted a stable job. Moreover, she wanted a rewarding career.
As well as wanting a stable job, Erin wanted a rewarding career.
When comparing these sentences, you may notice that the emphasis changes. For example, each construction places more or less importance on one of the phrases. As a result, the meaning of the sentence may change.
Whenever you select words, you’re choosing nuances in meaning. By opting for a different word or phrase, you may alter the meaning of your sentence ever so slightly. What’s more, you may also alter the tone of your prose, making it less formal or more conversational.
Can you use But Also Without Not Only
You can use but also without not only. On one hand, if you use not only, you must follow it with but also (They not only went fishing but also hiking). On the other hand, if you just use but also, you don’t need to use not only before it (He loves to go to the movies but also enjoys the gym).
Patricia not only speaks five languages but also is an avid traveler.
I insist on buying fresh ingredients but also on making the time to cook with them.
- If you start with not only: you must follow it with but also.
- If you don’t use not only:you can use but also by itself.
Do you Have to use but Also With not Only?
If you use the first part of the correlative conjunction not only, then you must use the second part but also. Conversely, if you just use the second part but also, then you don’t need to include the first part not only. In formal writing, you should use the entire construction not only…but also. However, in informal contexts, you can leave off the also and shorten the phrase to not only…but. The meaning of the sentence shouldn’t change.
- Formal Writing: use the full construction not only…but also
- Informal Writing: you can use the shortened construction not only…but
Not only was the flight long and treacherous.
Not only was the flight long, but also treacherous.
The flight was long but also treacherous.
It wasnot onlya long flightbut alsoa treacherous one.
It wasnot onlya long flightbuta treacherous one.
Some writers may consider not only…but also to be one stylistic choice among many. After all, there are multiple options for linking two related thoughts, with each creating different shades of meaning.
Whether you opt for this phrase or another one is up to you, and it may depend on the type of writing you’re doing. Most importantly, your sentence should not only sound natural but also be clear in meaning. That, above all, is what writing should be about.
Quick Not Only…But Also Quiz
Not Only... But Also Question #1
The answer is A. “Not only...but also” is a correlative conjunction. They're words or phrases that work together to link words, clauses, or phrases
Not Only... But Also Question #2
The answer is B. "Not only...but also" is used to convey two related facts, thoughts, or pieces of information.
Not Only... But Also Question #3
The answer is A. Correlative conjunctions serve to highlight the relationship between elements in the sentence.
Not Only... But Also Question #4
The answer is C. “Neither...nor” are correlative conjunctions.
Not Only... But Also Question #5
The answer is TRUE. The phrase becomes: “not only…but.”
Not Only... But Also Question #6
The answer is FALSE. Since “not only…but also” is a correlative conjunction, no comma is necessary.
Read More: What Is Parallelism in Writing?
How do you use not only but also correctly? ›
"Not only... but also" can be used to connect either nouns or clauses. When it connects nouns, you never use commas, but when connecting clauses that are complete sentences, you use a comma to separate them. My favorite food is not only lobster but also scallops and shrimp.How do you use not only but also in a sentence as a conjunction? ›
He not only studies hard but also works well. She not only plays well but also writes music. He not only speaks English but also French. The robbers not only took his money but also laid into him.Do you use a comma with not only but also? ›
It's correct to write the sentence this way, with no comma: When writing, Ann considers not only her topic but also her audience. But if you really want to show special emphasis, you can add a comma: When writing, Ann considers not only her topic, but also her audience.Can I use not only without but also? ›
Yes, it can be used separately, each word having its normal meaning.What is a better way of saying not only that? ›
in addition to. apart from being. besides being. besides the fact that. apart from the fact that.What can I say instead of not only? ›
|plus||what is more|
She is not only beautiful but also bright. Not only does the new teacher speak French, but he also speaks Spanish. John talks not only carelessly but also harshly. Not only you but also I am thinking of the wedding.How do you start a sentence with not only? ›
Therefore, the formula for using not only at the beginning of a sentence is: Not only + verb + subject…but also + subject + verb. Not only he forgot my birthday but also he never apologized! Not only did he forget my birthday but also he forgot to apologize!Can you start a sentence with but also? ›
The short answer is yes; there is nothing grammatically wrong with starting a sentence with a conjunction like but, and, or or.Do I put a comma after also? ›
Make sure you use a comma after also if you use this word to start a sentence. You don't always need a comma if also is in the middle of the sentence, but it's always proper punctuation to use one if it's at the beginning.
What is an M dash in writing? ›
An em dash is a punctuation mark that can be used to replace commas, parentheses, colons, and semicolons. In general, the em dash is seen as being more interruptive or striking than other punctuation, so it is often used stylistically to draw a reader's attention to a particular bit of information.How do you use not only but also in negative sentences? ›
Using "not only" with negative clauses:
Not only are all humans not equally intelligent, but those who are truly intelligent are also not equally as intelligent in every field.
I like both cats and dogs. Not only do I like cats but also dogs too. The only difference is that in 'Not only... but also', the second item is a new idea (perhaps the previous conversation had been about cats only), or something unexpected. The two structures could easily mean the same thing, but not here.How do you say it goes without saying in a formal way? ›
- be obvious.
- be understood.
- be taken for granted.
- be accepted.
- be self-evident.
- be taken as read.
- be a matter of course.
- Good luck.
- Best of luck.
- I hope things will turn out fine.
- You were made for this!
- You are going to be amazing!
- You'll do great!
- Wishing you all the best.
- Wishing you lots of luck.
There is a two-part subject.
Two-part subjects joined by the word “and” are almost always plural. Some two-part subjects are joined by “either . . . or,” “neither . . . nor,” “not only . . . but also.” In these cases, the verb should agree with the subject closest to the verb.