not to mention

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raymondaliasapollyon

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,

Are the following sentences natural?

  1. John can speak Classical Greek, Latin, French, and Japanese, not to mention English.

  2. John can speak English, not to mention Classical Greek, Latin, French, and Japanese.
I'd appreciate your help.
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    The order of the phrases on both sides of "not to mention" is important, isn't it?
    No.
    There must be some difference, a difference that leads one to be be considered natural but not the other.
    No.

    "Not to mention" introduces the figure of speech that is called 'Apophasis'. Apophasis - Wikipedia
    Apophasis is a rhetorical device wherein the speaker or writer brings up a subject by either denying it, or denying that it should be brought up. Accordingly, it can be seen as a rhetorical relative of irony.
     

    raymondaliasapollyon

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    No.

    No.

    "Not to mention" introduces the figure of speech that is called 'Apophasis'. Apophasis - Wikipedia
    With this rhetorical device, we put the more surprising entity after not to mention, don't we?

    E.g. John is a language genius. He can speak English, not to mention Classical Greek, Latin, French, and Japanese.

    cf.

    John is a language genius. He can speak Classical Greek, Latin, French, and Japanese, not to mention English.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    With this rhetorical device, we put the more surprising entity after not to mention, don't we?
    No, not necessarily - the additional items can equally be a list that has suddenly occurred to the speaker, or a list of things that he will not be discussing; it can also be used to introduce something irrelevant that might be of interest to the listener.

    "...and don't forget to bring the chairs and table, not to mention the can-opener that you forgot last time." -> "not to mention the can-opener that you forgot last time." is a mild reprimand.

    What follows is going to depend on the context (i.e. the background leading up to the use of "not to mention".)
     
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