One must be able to assess the situation first before coming with solutions, not the other way around.
Q: What kind of phrase is the red part?
What is the grammatical construction of it?
I think I remember that it's a relative clause reduced from "which is not the other way around." Is that correct?
NOT A TEACHER
(1) Thanks for your question. That kind of construction (sentence) is one of my
favorites. So I really want to know what the teachers tell us.
(2) Here are some comments. They are not answers.
(a) I believe that you are referring to sentences such as "I like broccoli, not
mushrooms." Am I right?
(b) Well, IF I am, the grammar books seem to call that an example of contrasted
(c) Let's simplify your sentence for easier analysis:
One should assess the situation first before coming up with solutions,
not come up with solutions first before assessing the situation.
(d) Here's the BIG problem:
It seems that there are many theories about contrasted elements.
(i) You mentioned one: the reduced relative clause:
He bought a Ford, not a Buick. = He bought a Ford, which is not a Buick.
(ii) Some think it is a short way to write a compound sentence:
He bought a Ford, but he did not buy a Buick.
(iii) Some think it is a so-called negative appositive. Yes, appositives are
usually affirmative (He is an ophthalmologist, an eye doctor.) But some books
(such as Professor Quirk's) allow negative appositives:
He bought a Ford (not a Buick).
(e) Maybe the teachers will show us other ways to understand this interesting and
very popular construction:
Mother: Why did you break this vase?
Mona (daughter): Tom did it, not me. (Actually, in "perfect" English "not I." That is:
Tom, not I, did it.)