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"A good teacher not only teaches students how to do well on tests; a good teacher fosters curiosity and excitement to learn in her students."

Is this sentence grammatically correct? I saw it on an english learning mobile application, named IELTS flashcards for your reference. I think that it should be changed to "A good teacher does not only ..." or "Not only does a good teacher teach ...".

I would also like to know if I used "for your reference" above in a natural or at least meaningful way.

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  • I suspect this contains an error. "on this tests" may have been meant to be "on his tests". That would be grammatical. There are other possibilities. As written this is awkward. Mar 20, 2023 at 16:48
  • Sorry for that. It is like a transcription error made by myself. The original sentence should be just "on tests" without "this". Is it alright to have a sentence like that without an auxiliary verb like "does"?
    – hellokitty
    Mar 20, 2023 at 16:55
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    After your correction, the sentence is fine. There is no error.
    – Billy Kerr
    Mar 20, 2023 at 17:59

2 Answers 2

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The sentence is grammatically correct, but some people might prefer that--because it used "not only" in the first clause--it use "but also" in the last clause. The sense of "but" can be considered to be included in the semicolon (which can replace ", but"), so the sentence would be:

A good teacher not only teaches students how to do well on tests; a good teacher also fosters curiosity and excitement to learn in her students.

Including "also" is often considered optional, but it can help to make the sentence's meaning clearer.

Your suggestions add "do-support"; that is not necessary here. However, if you wanted to emphasize the correlative conjunction, you could front "not only", which would require do-support and produce your second suggestion.

(Regarding your last question: "for your reference" is unnecessary; I probably would have left it out.)

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  • Thank you for your attention to all my questions.
    – hellokitty
    Mar 21, 2023 at 8:21
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Your rephrasing acceptable but the orginal is also correct and slightly more formal.

This is a form of the "not only ... (but) also" construction.

Peter not only plays the piano, he also sings.

You might note that this implies that "Peter plays the piano", which might go some way to explaining why the full negation "doesn't only play" is not required.

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    The contracted version (using doesn't for does not) is fine by me, but A good teacher does not only teach students how to do well on tests; a good teacher fosters curiosity and excitement to learn in her students doesn't (does not! :) sound very idiomatic to me. Mar 20, 2023 at 17:49
  • It's clear to me now. Thanks.
    – hellokitty
    Mar 21, 2023 at 8:23

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