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Can I use "not only … but" in the following sentence?

According to the host, it serves not only to protect the house from the danger of a robbery, but also to prohibit a bad spirit as well.

Is there any differences between British English and American English?

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As I understand it, your question is too vague by saying "any condition". Could provide some specific examples, especially related to where you believe the usage may not be correct? –  user485 Apr 13 '13 at 0:22
    
The idiom is standard in every English dialect. If you have a more specific question, that would be better. For example, do you want to know if you could use "not only … (but) also …" in a specific case? –  kiamlaluno Apr 13 '13 at 0:34
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You can use it in that sentence (the "but" is not optional, by the way), but the final two words, "as well", are redundant because they mean the same as "but also": ergo, delete them. –  user264 Apr 13 '13 at 0:47
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The Not Only... But Also part is fine, but the "to prohibit a bad spirit as well" isn't at all natural English. I'd suggest maybe "to guard against bad spirits". Drop the "as well" bit, because it's pointless/irritating repetition of the concept already expressed by "but also". (@Bill! - Snap! :) –  FumbleFingers Apr 13 '13 at 0:47
    
@BillFranke for the words 'also' and 'as well' I just realized that! thank you! –  dee Apr 13 '13 at 0:57
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2 Answers

I would rephrase it as follows:

According to the host, it not only serves to prevent robberies, but also serves to prevent bad spirits from entering.

The sentence is similar to "She not only wrote the text but also selected the illustrations." Notice that not only is written between the subject and the verb.
As others said in comments, as well is not necessary, since the sentence is already using also; using both is probably like writing "She was not only intelligent but also very musical too."

As for using prohibit, the verb is used as "prohibit something," "prohibit somebody from doing something," "prohibit doing something, or "prohibit something/somebody from doing something." In your sentence, prohibit was used as "prohibit somebody" which is not how the verb is normally used.

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Thank you for sharing your idea! –  dee Apr 13 '13 at 1:08
    
@Bill "According to the host, it not only serves to prevent robberies, but also serves to prevent bad spirits from entering. That wall was also a defence against the supernatural attack from the outside part." How does it flow? –  dee Apr 13 '13 at 5:28
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@Des: It flows well enough. But the second sentence is gratuitous: an unnecessary definition of "to prevent bad spirits from entering"; & the second "serves" is unnecessary ("...it not only serves to prevent robberies, but also to prevent bad spirits from entering"). Perhaps you'll like it better as "...it serves not only to prevent robberies, but also to prevent bad spirits from entering" or "...it serves both to prevent robberies, and to {prevent / prohibit / keep / block} bad spirits from entering". –  user264 Apr 13 '13 at 8:42
    
@BillFranke Thank you! –  dee Apr 18 '13 at 14:25
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I think what you wrote is pretty close, I would write:

According to the host, it not only serves to protect the house from the danger of robbery, but also to prohibit bad spirits from entering.

robbery does not require an article.
the robbery would refer to a specific robbery, and a robbery would refer to one robbery without specifying which one. But in your sentence, it's an unknown future event, with an unknown count. So an article is not needed.

I think prohibit is OK, sense 2 - to prevent; hinder. It could be prevent (keep them out) or hinder (make it more difficult). I think it could apply to spirits.

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Why is 'the' not needed before 'robbery'? –  dee Apr 13 '13 at 4:45
    
the robbery would refer to a specific robbery, and a robbery would refer to one robbery without specifying which one. But in your sentence, it's an unknown future event, with an unknown count. –  user485 Apr 13 '13 at 5:38
    
Okay thanks. How about these following lines: "A guide not only worked in foreign language, but also had a professional dedication for being available any time." –  dee Apr 13 '13 at 6:41
    
@Des I think the "not only … but" usage is OK. A couple of other points... It should be "a foreign language" because it is a specific language, we just don't know which one. If you did, you would likely say something like "in Spanish". And "A guide" may be OK, but it seems like you are talking about a specific person. In that case, it should be "The guide". –  user485 Apr 13 '13 at 17:56
    
Thanks always for your help! The more I learn the more I know nothing :) –  dee Apr 14 '13 at 0:38
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