I dreamed up the two sentences. I don't know that in 'X not to mention Y', whether X is a bigger benefit or Y is. Let's assume that increasing job prospects is a bigger benefit than building social networks. In this case, should I use Sentence 1 or Sentence 2?

  1. Higher education offers an environment to build important social networks, not to mention increases job prospects.
  1. Higher education increases job prospects, not to mention offers an environment to build important social networks.
  • I think not to mention works much better when what doesn't need to be mentioned (but is in fact about to be mentioned anyway! :) is a thing, rather than a finite verb clause like increases job prospects. It's normally used in such a way that the verb associated with the first object (offers, here) applies to the "wasn't going to be mentioned" second object as well, so it can be "deleted", giving Higher education offers an environment to build important social networks, not to mention improved job prospects. Jul 29 at 10:55
  • In the first example you need to change "increases" to "increased". In the second change "offers" to "offering". The X and Y elements used in this idiom need to be noun phrases.
    – Billy Kerr
    Jul 29 at 11:23

3 Answers 3


This idiomatic construction does not necessarily mean that the mentioned matter is bigger than the unmentioned one - merely that it is sufficiently important that there should be no need to make a second point.

It can be used to refer to reasons against something as well as for it, so it isn't always about weighing benefits - it can be 'pros' or 'cons'.

  • Thank you very much for your answer. Do you mean both of my sentences make sense? Jul 29 at 9:19
  • Agreed. Unlike "let alone", where the second thing must be of greater import, I don't see this as instantly requiring one ordering. Jul 29 at 12:39
  • @newbieforever actually, your second example doesn't feel quite right... I think it's that you go into a fair bit of detail for the thing you "aren't mentioning". The unmentioned thing would normally just be a brief word or two, such as "better job prospects", or "development opportunities".
    – Astralbee
    Jul 29 at 13:26

The second item should be at least as significant as the first. In your case, if job prospects are more important, sentence 1 is more appropriate.

"Not to mention" doesn't necessarily imply a difference as extreme as similar phrases like "let alone," but it still loses some of its rhetorical impact when reversed.


This can go either way. Usually, X is more immediately applicable to the subject at hand, and more specificially to the point.

"Using this gasoline will make your car run better, not to mention lower cost."

However, the construction can also be used ironically, when the less immediate aspect is also generally more important.

"Switching to solar power will lower your electricity rates, not to mention helping to save the planet."

So, there really isn't a yes or no answer to your question.

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