Not only precise, but also accurate
A common source of reader confusion is the sloppy not only . . . but also construction. In brief, whatever immediately follows the but also is added to the not only. More importantly, what is said about the not only is also said about the but also.
Allow me to illustrate. In the sentence:
The quarterback not only played for the Patriots, but also for the Renegades.
the author wants to communicate that the quarterback played for two teams, not one. Unfortunately, the sequence not only played gives the impression that he played and also did something else for the Patriots. The clear way to say that he played for two teams is:
The quarterback played not only for the Patriots, but also for the Renegades.
Copy and paste the sentences into a Reply below this post. If necessary, move the not only phrases in the sentences. Otherwise, leave them where they are.
- Leonardo painted not only the Mona Lisa, but also the Annunciation.
- Leonardo not only painted the Mona Lisa, he also protected it with several coats of varnish.
- Not only Leonardo produced the Mona Lisa; several of his students painted the backgrounds.
- Leonardo painted the Mona Lisa not only for his enjoyment, but also to earn a commission.
- Leonardo not only painted the Mona Lisa for his enjoyment, but also to earn a commission.