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    #1

    Which is the correct sentence?

    The first sentence is from a Nichiren Shu magazine.

    1. I had to not only face the tough times alone, but I also did not understand why this was all happening to me.

    2. I had not only to face the tough times alone, but also did not understand why this was all happening to me.

    Which is the correct sentence?

    Thanks.

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    #2

    Re: Which is the correct sentence?

    Neither is correct. They both contain a parallelism error. If you introduce a sentence with I had not only to face the tough times alone, the next clause has to follow the right form for the idiom not only x [...] y. For example:

    I had not only to face the tough times alone, but also to figure out why all this was happening to me.

    I'd prefer this:

    Not only did I have to face the tough times alone; I also had to figure out why all this was happening to me.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #3

    Re: Which is the correct sentence?

    I think all the sentences here sound okay, actually. Goes Station's and allenman's suggestions sound very good but don't exactly capture the original meaning of the second clause, which isn't about having to understand, just simply not understanding.

    So I'd say that the first sentence is fine if the thought really must be expressed with a 'not only...but also...' phrase.

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    #4

    Re: Which is the correct sentence?

    Thanks, GoesStation and jutfrank.

  1. Piscean's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Which is the correct sentence?

    Please remember the Thank​ button, Tan Elaine.

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Which is the correct sentence?

    They don't make sense. They lack parallelism.

    If you start with "I not only had to. . ." before the comma, you have to have "I also had to. . . ." (or something like it) after the comma. Otherwise, there's no logic to the sentence. It would be like having an if/then sentence with no then.

    People used to say that infinitives shouldn't be split - that is, the word to shouldn't be separated from the verb it's connected with. By that rule, "to not only face" was wrong and "to face not only" was right. The infinitive to face could not be split.

    But that rule went out of fashion fifty years ago. Today, either is fine. At least in American English. I don't know about British.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #7

    Re: Which is the correct sentence?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    People used to say that infinitives shouldn't be split .... But that rule went out of fashion fifty years ago.
    It's taking a long, long time to fade away. Here's a quote from Wikipedia's article on the subject.
    In the 1907 edition of The King's English, the Fowler brothers wrote:
    "The 'split' infinitive has taken such hold upon the consciences of journalists that, instead of warning the novice against splitting his infinitives, we must warn him against the curious superstition that the splitting or not splitting makes the difference between a good and a bad writer."
    I am not a teacher.

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