Coordinating conjunction not only but also

Not only…. But also is one of the most important coordinating conjunctions, used to add more information to form compound sentence. Generally, being a coordinating conjunctions, it is widely used to form compound, as well as mixed sentences. Let’s begin to understand coordinating conjunction not only but also in more detailed way.

The role of coordinating conjunction not only but also

It is used to add extra information to the independent clause. If you are going to express more information about the subject, then, generally, it is preferred. We also call it paired or correlated as it is used together relating to each other. Using separately cannot make a sense.

How to use it??

First of all, we must know that it is used to add extra information and it may be in the form of any part of speech. For example, it may be noun, noun phrase, adjective or adjective phrase. Its position should follow the following rules:-

In case of in the middle of the sentence, it should be placed immediately after auxiliary verb.

For example — He is + not only + any part of speech or phrase or clause + comma in case of emphasis + but also + additional information in the earlier format.

  • Suppose, global warming is not only a cause of climate change but also a threat for biodiversity.

In this example, not only is used immediately after auxiliary ‘is’ but before the phrase. In the second part, same phrasal nature is used after but also.


It is an important element in the writing of paired or correlated conjunctions. It is essential in both listing additional information or comparison or contrast of ideas.

Parallelism means following the same grammatical pattern at the both end.

In the earlier example, global warming is not only a cause of climate change but also a threat for biodiversity, the same grammatical pattern is used. In the first part, a cause of climate change, whereas in the second part, a threat for biodiversity. So, it is highly essential to be consistent with the rules of parallelism.

Use of comma or any punctuation marks in the coordinating conjunction — not only but also

Use of comma in the not only….. but also sentences depends on the degree of emphasis. In case greater degree, it is recommended to use it, otherwise no need to use.

  • For example, water scarcity is not only a challenge, but also a big environmental concern. In this example, there is an extra stress over the environmental concern compare to earlier part. Here are some examples for better understanding.
  • UN is not only an intergovernmental forum for discussion but also a catalyst for global development.
  • Green energy is not only a potential solution for global warming, but it also a sustainable alternative for conventional energy.
  • Trees not only breathe through leaves but also produce food through photosynthesis.
  • Fruits are not only nutritious but also affordable.

There is no dearth of examples but essence is important. Now we are going to understand the other type. Right use of not only…. but also with the beginning of sentence.

Use of Not only…. but also at the beginning

In this case, inversion of auxiliary is essential. Here, in the absence of auxiliary we can use do, does, did according to tense and demand of sentence.

  • Not only are natural disasters challenging human lives, but they are also damaging infrastructure and property.
  • Not only is it raining continuously but it is also making daily routine difficult.

In both example, you might have observed that in the second part, we are repeating the subject and auxiliary. It is different from earlier type when we used not only….. but also in the middle of the sentence.

Second, the introduction of comma is also important to make natural sense. Let’s see more examples.

  • Not only did technology make human life easy, but it also created sense of fear.
  • Not only is industrial sector providing higher wages, but it also bringing structural changes.

Actually, these are not simple examples of coordinating conjunction not only but also, but practically workable. After all, you are going to use it for a purpose.

Functions of preposition

Adverbial complements