How to say “not only…but also”: Italian grammar lesson 195

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Key Takeaways

Unlock the secrets of expressing complex ideas in Italian with ease! Learn how to master the “non solo…ma anche” construction to add emphasis, surprise, and balance to your Italian conversations. 🇮🇹✨

  • Emphasize like a pro by using non solo…ma anche to highlight not just one, but two important points in your Italian chats.
  • Keep your listeners on their toes with unexpected twists by following up a common fact with a more surprising one using non solo…ma anche.
  • Maintain balance in your sentences by ensuring the parts of speech match after both non solo and ma anche. Symmetry is key! 🔄
  • Don’t mix and match! Avoid awkward sentences by keeping adjectives with adjectives and verbs with verbs when using this two-part expression.
  • Remember, splitting is fine! You can separate non solo and ma anche in a sentence, and it’ll still make perfect sense.

Quick facts

What is the primary purpose of using "non solo... ma anche" in Italian?

It creates emphasis, provides unexpected information, and adds balance to the sentence.

How does "non solo... ma anche" compare to its English equivalent?

Both create parallelism, making sentences balanced and emphasizing surprising elements.

What happens if parts of speech differ after "non solo" and "ma anche"?

The sentence becomes imbalanced and sounds odd, disrupting the intended parallelism.

Can you give an example of an imbalanced sentence using "non solo... ma anche" in English?

"She's not only nice but also has a great sense of humor" sounds imbalanced.

How should nouns and verbs be treated in "non solo... ma anche" constructions?

Ensure the same parts of speech follow both "non solo" and "ma anche" for balance.

How does the split placement of "non solo" and "ma anche" affect the meaning?

The meaning remains unchanged, though the words can be split for stylistic reasons.

Could you provide a balanced example using "non solo... ma anche" with nouns?

"Non vendono solo libri ma anche giornali" (They sell not only books but also newspapers).

How does "non solo... ma anche" enhance a sentence about health?

It emphasizes the dual impact, e.g., "non solo per la salute fisica, ma anche per la salute mentale" (not only for physical health but also for mental health).

In what context could "non solo... ma anche" be used to recommend studying and exercising?

"Ti consiglio non solo di studiare ma anche di fare qualche esercizio" (I recommend not only studying but also doing some exercises).

How does "non solo... ma anche" emphasize dual obligations?

By highlighting multiple responsibilities, e.g., "Non deve solo chiedere scusa ma deve anche pagare una multa" (He not only has to apologize but also has to pay a fine).

My Thoughts

What’s the meaning of non solo…ma anche in Italian?

This sentence is pretty easy to remember because, unlike many other cases, it’s a literal translation: in English we say not only… but also.

Like in Italian, this construction creates some sort of parallelism: not only…but also.

In fact, we use this two-part expression to:

  • create emphasis
  • give unexpected information
  • add balance to what we’re saying

The second item in the sentence is usually more surprising than the first one, and this creates some kind of “mystery”, as you can see in the example below:

Mi ha detto non solo che mi voleva bene ma anche che era innamorato di me.

He said not only that he cared for me but also that he was in love with me.

How to structure non solo…ma anche?

There is only one important rule concerning this structure.

Since this construction is all about parallelism, the words following both parts (non solo and ma anche) should belong to the same parts of speech.

For example, if there’s a verb after non solo, then after ma anche there should be a verb too.

If we use different parts of speech after each part, the sentence will look imbalanced and odd.

It’s the same in English. If you’re not too convinced, look at the following examples:

  • She’s not only nice but also has a great sense of humor.
  • She’s not only nice but also funny.

Both sentences mean the same thing. However, the first sentence is imbalanced because after “not only” there is an adjective (nice), and after “but also” there is a verb (has).

Free Guide
How to Learn Languages Fast

Let’s have a look at some examples in Italian:

Non vendono solo libri ma anche giornali.

They sell not only books but also newspapers.

In this case, the sentence is balanced because both after non solo and ma anche there are the nouns libri and giornali.

Also, as you can see in the example above, sometimes the words are split but the meaning is still the same.

We could have said:Vendono non solo libri ma anche giornali.

Non solo…ma anche: examples

Let’s look at some more examples:

È triste non solo per voi ma anche per noi.

It’s sad not only for you but also for us.

Fare sport fa bene non solo agli adulti ma anche ai bambini.

Doing sport is good not only for adults but also for children.

Ci sono conseguenze non solo per la salute fisica, ma anche per la salute mentale.

There are consequences not only for the physical health but also for the mental health.

Ti consiglio non solo di studiare ma anche di fare qualche esercizio.

I recommend not only studying but also doing some exercises.

Non deve solo chiedere scusa ma deve anche pagare una multa.

He not only has to apologize but also has to pay a fine.

Non bisogna solo lavorare ma bisogna anche farlo bene.

We not only have to work but also do it well.

Test your knowledge in 10 quick questions

What is "Non solo ... ma anche" translation in English?

It's “not only…but also”.

How is "Non solo ... ma anche" structure?

Since this construction is all about parallelism, the words following both parts should belong to the same parts of speech.

Italian word of the day
l’influenza
Example
Hai la febbre! Sì, mi è venuta l’influenza.
You have a fever! Yes, I got influenza.
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