''not only, but also'' in an inversion style.

Mitchell Nakano

Member
Japanese - Japan
Hi teachers,
I saw this two lines from a grammar website recently.
(1) Not only was it raining all day at the wedding but also the band was late.
(2) Not only did she forget my birthday but she also didn't even apologize for forgetting it.

I am happy with (2) because the subject is the same -- "she".
I am a bit unhappy with (1) because subjects are different -- "it" and "the band"

My question is --
''do you think that (1) is standard English which is perfectly idiomatic? Or in other words, can we use different subjects like that in not-only-but-also sentences?''

Thank you very much in advance, teachers. I would really appreciate your kind help.
 
  • Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    The "not also" parts are fine in both, but "also" doesn't sound very natural in either of them. In other words, "not-only-but-also" sentences seem to work better without "also".
    In (2) I would simply leave "also" out, and the rest is then fine: Not only did she forget my birthday, but she didn't even apologize for it.
    In (1) I would probably replace "also" with something else: Not only did it rain all day, but to top it all, the band was late.
     

    Mitchell Nakano

    Member
    Japanese - Japan
    Thank you very much, Edinurgher and Heypresto. I agree with the idea that ''also" should be left out; that is what I have noticed in many written work as well.

    But my main concern is about using two different subjects in not-only-but-also sentences. Because I have read about importance of "parallelism" in writing English sentences. I tend to feel that according to the parallelism theory, using different subjects like that in not-only-but-also sentences may be either sub-standard or controversial use.

    Would you advocate this kind of usage or not? Thanks again.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I see no problem with different subjects. The only real requirement in not-only-but situations is that there needs to be some kind of logical connection between the two ideas, and often that the second is in some way more negative than the first.
    Or more positive: Not only did he get a shedload of presents this Christmas, but one of them was a car to replace the one he had totalled only weeks earlier by driving it over an embankment into a ditch.

    Also, where the subject is the same, you can sometimes pull it out so that it is mentioned only once but still applies to both:
    She not only forgot my birthday, but didn't even apologize for it.
     
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