Not Only

There is a certain sentence construction using the phrase “not only” that tries to show that there are two effects that result.

Example:
This technique not only increases the oil production rate, but it also increases ultimate recovery.

Two for the price of one!  Yea!

There are times when I prefer to use “both” instead of “not only … but also.”

Example:
This technique increases both the oil production rate and the ultimate recovery.
Short and sweet; very clear and direct.

So when would you use the two different methods?
If you want to stress the additional benefit as lagniappe on top of something that’s already good, then use the “not only … but also” construction. If space is at a premium (keep the abstract under 300 words), or if you want to be very clear and direct, use the “both” construction.

If you choose the “not only … but also” construction, be sure to do it correctly with parallel phrases.

According to Grammar Girl (http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com),
if you use this kind of sentence construction, “it’s considered good form to make sure the parts that follow each set of words are formatted the same way.”

Good Example:
He is not only a great swimmer, but also a great musician.  (two noun clauses)
Bad Example:
He is not only a great swimmer, but also plays amazing music.  (a noun clause and a verb clause)
Corrected Example:
He not only swims fast, but also plays amazing music.  (two verb clauses)

This parallel structure is reminiscent of the rule of thumb about having all of your bullet points start with the same part of speech, e.g., a verb.

The objectives of this study are:

•       To develop a new method,
•       To test the method in the lab,
•       To conduct a field pilot test, and
•       To roll out the new technique worldwide.

If you put the “to” part of the verb infinitive in the introduction right before the semicolon, you get:

The objectives of this study are to:
•       Develop a new method,
•       Test the method in the lab,
•       Conduct a field pilot test, and
•       Roll out the new technique worldwide.

This is shorter and more powerful. If you can put a repeated word in the warm-up, the pitch is delivered so much faster and harder.
(When will baseball season ever get here?)

————————————–
Profound Quote of the Day:

“Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all.”
– Norman Vincent Peale, American clergyman, 1898-1993

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: