You know, not A but B is C, not only A but also B is C, or A is B but C structures are correct. What about an A but B is C structure?

1 Answer 1


"not A but B is C" This works, A and B are nouns and C is a complement that may be a noun or adjective. It is slightly stilted; "B, but not A, is C" would often be better.

Not cats, but dogs are friendly

"not only A but also B is C" This also works and is slightly more emphatic than the equivalent "both A and B are C"

Not only cats, but also dogs are friendly

"A is B but C" I can't make this structure work for nouns A,B and C. It would be possible for C to be a new clause. So we can't say "Dogs are friendly, but cats*" We can say "Dogs are friendly, but cats aren't"

"A but B is C" I can't make this work either with nouns. You can't say "Dogs but cats are friendly*" You might say Dogs are, but cats aren't friendly" (but you don't want to do this too often, because one needs to back-track to understand the sentence)

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