Rules of using not only but also

So, when you need to connect clauses that are complete sentences themselves, a comma is inserted to separate them. But when used to link nouns, a comma mustn’t be inserted.

Geoffrey Mutie
Geoffrey Mutie

“Not only… but also” is usually used to emphasize and connect two words or phrases simultaneously, parallelism being the primary goal. It is correlative conjunction, and we use it at the middle and end of a sentence. Correlative conjunctions come in pairs that relate one part of a sentence to the other.

For instance:

He plays his role not only funny but also naturally.

It also can be used at the beginning of a sentence:

Not only do the employees want better management, but they also want reduced working hours too.

The balancing act is a critical aspect of grammar! When using the correlative conjunction “not only… but also” in a text, it’s crucial to think about the concept of balance. This conjunction is called parallelism from a grammatical perspective.

Using a comma with not only but also

“Not only… but also” is often a connecting phrase for clauses and nouns. So, when you need to connect clauses that are complete sentences themselves, a comma is inserted to separate them. But when used to link nouns, a comma mustn’t be inserted.

For example:

Those children like not only cakes but also cheese.
Not only do those children eat cakes every day during break time, but they also enjoy cheese when necessary.

It's essential to understand how to use not only but also in various writing forms, from knowing when to insert the not only but also comma to understanding whether to use it in the beginning or middle of a sentence.

Other examples:

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.
We visited not only Spanish but also Germany.
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