Using not only/but also

Many students have difficulty using the correlative conjunction not only/but also.

When you use ‘not only/but also’, you have to use the same kind of words after ‘not only’ and ‘but also’. So, if you used an adjective after ‘not only’, you need an adjective after ‘but also’. In the same way, if you used a verb after ‘not only’, you will need a verb after ‘but also’.

Study the example given below.

  • Nicotine is not only cancerous but also it leads to many other health issues.

The above sentence has a faulty construction.

The student used an adjective after not only (cancerous) and a clause (it leads…) after but also.

This makes the construction wrong. The student could have written:

  • The nicotine in cigarettes causes not only cancer but also several other health problems. (Here I have used a noun (cancer) after not only and a noun phrase (several other health problems) after but also.)
  • OR The nicotine in cigarettes not only causes cancer but also leads to several other health problems. (Here I used two verbs (causes and leads) after ‘not only’ and ‘but also’.)

More examples are given below.

  • She not only abused the boy but also asked him to leave. (Here we use verbs (abused and asked) after ‘not only’ and ‘but also’)
  • Gauri is not only intelligent but also beautiful. (Here we use adjectives (intelligent and beautiful) after ‘not only’ and ‘but also’.)
  • She owns not only a car but also a bus. (Here we use nouns (car and bus) after ‘not only’ and ‘but also’.)

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Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I'm Manjusha. This is my blog where I give IELTS preparation tips.

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