3

I found this in The Guardian

And assuming a 50:50 gender divide, polygamy not only means that women in polygamous relationships not only receive a small fraction of a man, but that some unfortunate men lower down the pecking order will get no woman at all.

I believe the above sentence has a grammatical mistake. There are two "not only" but has only one "but". If I make the sentence parallel, I have trouble in second not only, which is highlighted in bold. What should I do in this scenario?

How find some of the "not only" which does not follow with "but". In this condition how can I rephrase the sentence?

And assuming a 50:50 gender divide, polygamy means not only that women in polygamous relationships not only receive a small fraction of a man, but that some unfortunate men lower down the pecking order will get no woman at all.

  • I didn't understand. Do you mean second sentence or second "not only"? – ARYF Jun 26 '16 at 10:41
  • Second only one. – user33000 Jun 26 '16 at 10:50
  • fine! If a sentence has one "not only" and does not have "but also" or an option to insert "but also", is that sentence incorrect. Or should it be rephrased? – ARYF Jun 26 '16 at 10:58
  • 1
    By redundant I mean it's not necessary to have it. The sentence should be rephrased, in my idea. And I told you how we can change it. – user33000 Jun 26 '16 at 16:19
  • @Sina -- Your comments would make a good answer. – Jasper Jul 2 '16 at 12:02
3

The second (emphasized) "not only" should be "only" to make it a logical sentence. It appears to be an editorial mistake.

For completion of the sentence, I personally perfer "but also" over "but" (although "but" is allowed according to credible sources, for example Cambridge dictionary). With a long sentence like this one, the idiomatically "but also" could help the reader.

Edit: Also, the verb "means" applied to both parts of the sentence, so it should be placed before "not only".

The result would be

And assuming a 50:50 gender divide, polygamy means not only that women in polygamous relationships only receive a small fraction of a man, but also that some unfortunate men lower down the pecking order will get no woman at all.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.