he saw creating the 7 Habits not primarily as a means of his own success.

In the above mentioned sentence I want to know whether the usage of "not primarily " is correct or not. Please provide me with a proper explanation. Does "not primarily" come before the gerund or after the object of the gerund?enter image description here

  • "Not probably" is very awkward and non-fluent here. But as cobaltduck says, it's hard to tell you how to correct it if you don't tell us what you want to say.
    – stangdon
    Apr 28, 2018 at 13:02
  • 2
    Also, the picture you posted says "not primarily", not "not probably".
    – stangdon
    Apr 28, 2018 at 14:28
  • You have used the correct word 'primarily' in the quote in the title, but misread it as 'probably' everywhere else. Change that and your question will make more sense. :)
    – Igid
    Apr 28, 2018 at 14:50
  • Consider: He saw purchasing the restaurant not primarily as a way to offer delicious food to the neighborhood but as a way to launder money. The main or primary purpose was to launder money. Offering delicious food was secondary in its importance. And it is a means to {an end}
    – TimR
    Apr 28, 2018 at 16:22

1 Answer 1


He saw creating the 7 Habits not primarily as a means to his own success, but as an act of service. [The sentence is referring to the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People]

In English, you can construct a sentence containing the reason for something by using the the word as in a phrase to mean having the purpose or function of:

  • He did that as a favor to his brother.

That utterance can be put in the negative like this:

  • He did that not as a favor to his brother but as a favor to his father.

It could also be put in the negative like this, in a shorter form:

  • He didn't do that as a favor to this brother but to his father.

As a means to his own success is an example of a noun phrase using as to mean for the purpose of.

Also, in the sentence above, the noun phrase "as a means to his own success" is preceded by: to see creating the 7 Habits is standard English.

transitive verb + gerund noun = He sees playing tennis as a type of endurance sport. They understand being politically involved as a vital necessity.

The verb see here means: to understand. Transitive verbs may be followed by gerund nouns.

  • Thank you so much but can we use primarily after negation? And one more thing this word primarily is modifying creating or saw? Please clear this doubt. Thank you
    – Ahmed
    Apr 28, 2018 at 15:35
  • Yes, of course. I'd be happy to clear up any doubt. To see creating x primarily as: answers the question: how does he see creating x? So, for me, it goes with see (saw). :)
    – Lambie
    Apr 28, 2018 at 15:43
  • Thank you once again .one more doubt can we us adverb which is "not" before the word " primarily" please give full explanation
    – Ahmed
    Apr 28, 2018 at 15:48
  • To not primarily see something as x.
    – Lambie
    Apr 28, 2018 at 18:00

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