Wrong structure of Not only…but also? [closed]

Question courtesy KhanAcademy
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Question (on the right) is referring to part [11] of the paragraph (on the left). Question statement (not shown in picture) is to select best possible rewrite of the underlined portion of part 11, and make it grammatically correct. I marked NO CHANGE but correct answer given is C.

According to me, “not only…but also” construction should not have any punctuation at all, and if it does, should contain only a comma. Hence I marked A as my choice.

For example, in this question – Parallelism and prepositions in ‘…not only…but also…” – we can see how the correct answer makes use of no punctuation at all.

However here they’ve indicated use of a semi-colon is correct. Can someone please explain why this is correct?


I had not been taught the “not only…also” construction in school, hence, it was my natural subconscious decision to insert a “but” in the passage. I thus failed to notice that the “but” is in fact missing. However, the information in the below answer is still useful for people interested in the “not only…also” pattern.


The ELL answer you cite is about the “not only … but also” pattern. However, there is no but in the Walker text.

There is usually no punctuation when but is present, and there is usually some form of punctuation in a not only construction without but.

She not only sings but acts.

She not only sings, she acts.

As StoneyB mentions, few punctuation rules are rigid and universally accepted. These would be permissible as well:

She not only sings, but acts.

She not only sings she acts.

She not only sings; she acts.

She not only sings—she acts.

Source : Link , Question Author : Gaurang Tandon , Answer Author : Tᴚoɯɐuo

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