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There is one strange passage in Practical English Usage:

In the rather formal structure not only ... but also, the expressions not only and but also can go immediately before the words or expressions that they modify.

Not only the bathroom was flooded, but also the rest of the house.

Not only can be moved to the beginning of a clause for emphasis. It is then followed by auxiliary verb + subject; do is used if there is no other auxiliary (for more about this word order, 270). But can be left out in this case.

Not only has she been late three times; she has also done no work.

Well the contradiction is obvious. Can someone explain it?

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    What is the contradiction?
    – steve v
    Oct 13, 2023 at 21:19
  • The third quote reads "Not only can be moved to the beginning of a clause for emphasis. It is then followed by auxiliary verb + subject" but the second reads "Not only the bathroom was flooded" not "Not only was the bathroom flooded"
    – Kyamond
    Oct 13, 2023 at 21:41
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    Those are two different usages of "not only" being described.
    – steve v
    Oct 13, 2023 at 22:03
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    I see no "contradiction". What I see is a "contrast" between not only [verb] [but other verb] and not only [noun] [but other noun]. Oct 13, 2023 at 23:13
  • Presumably (for more about this word order, 270) goes into detail about the difference between #1 Not only the bathroom was flooded, but... and #2 Not only was the bathroom flooded, but... Where I think #1 always contrasts the noun, but #2 can contrast either the noun OR the verb. Oct 13, 2023 at 23:18

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Like some of the commenters, I'm not fully sure what the 'obvious contradiction' is, but your examples sound weird and I think you're trying to force 'not only... but also' into sentences that do not warrant it.

You don't have to use 'also' in these constructions - you could use "too", "either", "as well", or any synonym that means "in addition". You don't even have to use 'but'.

Not only was he a great golfer, he was a fantastic footballer, too.

I'm guessing that the 'contradiction' you refer to is, like in your last example, when one of the presented facts is negated and one is not (ie "she has been late" but "she has done no work"). This isn't a contradiction or a problem if you choose the right words. "Also" might not sound right in some contexts, although I have no problems with it in this example. I'd word it this way:

Not only has she been late three times, she hasn't done any work, either.

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