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Not only….but also
‘Not only’ is followed by ‘but also’ and it means ‘both…and’. In this construction the more important word
(noun/adjective/verb) is placed after ‘also’ to make it prominent. In this structure, ‘not only’ and ‘but also’ can go
immediately before the words or expressions that they modify. For example,
We go there not only in winter, but also in summer.
Not only the bathroom was flooded, but also the rest of the house.
The place was not only cold but also damp.
He is not only a good worker but also a leader.
She is not only young but also beautiful.
She not only sings like an angel, but also dances divinely.
She plays not only the piano, but also the violin.
(a) ‘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. ‘But’ can be left out in this case. For example,
Not only has she been late three times, she has also done no work.
Not only do they need clothing, but they are also short of water.
Not only is she tall but also beautiful. (not, Not only she is tall)
(b) In informal English ‘not only ….but also’ is not very common; other structures are preferred. For example,
We don’t only go there in winter. We go in summer too.
(c) Correlatives are followed by the same class of words in a sentence. For example,
He has not only a bicycle but also a scooter. (noun + noun)
He not only phoned Seeta but also wrote to her. (verb + verb)
She is not only young but also beautiful. (adjective + adjective)
We don’t say:
He phoned not only Seeta but also wrote to her. (noun + verb)
Hardly, Scarcely, Barely and No sooner
These expressions can be used (often with a past perfect tense) to suggest that one thing happened very soon after another.
Note the sentence structure:
Note that ‘no sooner’ is necessarily followed by ‘than’ and ‘hardly / scarcely / barely’ is followed by ‘when’, not ‘than’.
No sooner had the police reached than the burglars fled. (not, when)
Hardly had I reached the station when the train left. (not, than)
Barely had I started speaking when he interrupted me.
Scarcely had be fallen asleep when he had a dream.
(i) We can use ‘whether…or’ as a double conjunction, with a similar meaning to ‘it doesn’t matter whether…or…’.
I don’t know whether she is guilty or innocent.
Whether we go by bus or train, it will take at least six hours.
Note that ‘or’ is used when all the alternatives are expressed.
(ii) When only the first, alternative is express, ‘or not’ is used. For example,
I don’t know whether she is guilty or not. (‘innocent’ left out)
Note: Several structures are possible with ‘Whether ….or not’.
Whether you like it or not,….
Whether or not you like it, ……
Whether you like it or, whether you don’t ……
Structure with ‘very’ cannot be followed directly by that-clauses. Instead, we can use ‘so….that’ or ‘such….that’. For
It was such a cold afternoon that we stopped playing.
(not, it was a very cold afternoon that…)
He spoke so fast that nobody could understand.
(not, He spoke very fast that….)
So….as to …./Such….as to ….
(i) There is a structure with ‘so’ followed by adjective + as to + infinitive. This is formal and not very common. For
Would you be so kind as to tell me the time? ( = ….kind enough to….)
(not, Would you be so kind and ….or, would you be so kind to.)
(ii) There is also a structure with ‘such’ followed by … + as to + infinitive. This is formal and not very common. For
It was such a loud noise as to wake everybody in the house.
(Less formal….such a loud noise that it woke….)
We sometimes construct sentences with ‘if…then’ to emphasise that one thing depends on another. For example,
If she can’t come to us, then we will have to go and see her.
(i) ‘If’ and ‘whether’ are used in indirect speech when it is a yes / no question or an alternative question. For example,
1. He said, “Do you like fish’?
He asked me if/whether I liked fish.
2. She said, “Do you write poems”?
She asked me if/whether I wrote poems.
(ii) ‘Whether’ (not ‘If’) is always used before infinitives and prepositions. For example,
I don’t know whether to accept or reject this offer.
It all depends on whether he accept my terms and conditions.
He has not yet decided if to join business or politics.
My career depends on if I get a first in English.
(iii) A noun clause used as the subject of a sentence begins with whether (not, ‘If’). For example,
Whether she will come or not is uncertain.
If he will take his exam this year or not is still undecided.
Until / Till / By
(i) These two words can be used both as prepositions and conjunctions. They mean exactly the same. For example,
Ok, then, I won’t expect you until/till midnight.
I will wait until/till I hear from you.
The new time table will remain in operation until June 30.
He learnt little until he was 15 years old.
(ii) Present tenses are used to refer to the future after ‘until’. For example,
I will wait until she gets here. (not….until she will get here.)
Present perfect and past perfect tenses can emphasise the idea of completion. For example,
You are not going home until you have finished that report.
I waited until the rain had stopped.
(iii) Note that the conjunction ‘until’ is used to express ‘time before’. Therefore ‘until’ can be used to say how far away a
future event is. For example,
It will be ages until we meet again.
There is only six weeks left until Christmas.
(iv) ‘Until’ and ‘By’
We use ‘until’ to talk about a situation or state that will continue up to a certain moment. We use ‘by’ to say that an
action or event will happen at or before a future moment. Compare the following:
Can I stay until the weekend?
Yes, but you will have to leave by Monday midday at the latest. ( = at twelve on Monday or before.)
Can you repair my watch if I leave it until Saturday?
No, but we can do it by next Tuesday.
(Not….until next Tuesday.)
‘Unless’ has a similar meaning to ‘if….not’, in the sense of ‘except if’. Therefore, it will be wrong to use negative finite
verb (not + verb) in the clause introduced by ‘unless’. For example,
Unless you labour hard, you cannot pass.
(Never write – Unless you do not labour hard ….)
Come tomorrow unless I phone. (= ….if I don’t phone/ except if I phone.)
I will take the job unless the pay is too low. ( = if the pay is not too low / except if the payis too low.)
I will be back tomorrow unless there is a plane strike.
Let’s have dinner out, unless you’re too tried.
Note: In clauses with ‘unless’, we usually use present tenses to refer to the future. For example,
Unless it rains, I am going to dig the garden this afternoon.
The conjunction ‘lest’ expresses a negative purpose. Hence it should never be followed by ‘not’. ‘Lest’ mean ‘so that
….not’ or ‘for fear that’ or ‘in case’. We cannot write ‘He was afraid lest he should not pass’. We must write, ‘He was
afraid lest he should fail. Note that ‘Lest’ is generally followed by ‘should’. It is never followed by ‘should not’. Look at
the examples given below:
They kept watch all night lest robbers should come.
We must take care lest evil thoughts enter our hearts.
As well as
(i) ‘As well as’ has a similar meaning to ‘not only ….but also’. For example,
She has got a goat, as well as five cats and three dogs.
He is clever as well as nice. (=He is not only nice, but also clever.)
She works in television as well as writing children’s books.
(ii) When some information is already known to the listener / reader we put this with ‘as well as’. For example,
As well as birds, some mammals can fly.
(Not, Birds can fly, as well as some mammals.)
They speak French in parts of Italy as well as France.
(Not, they speak French in France as well as parts of Italy)
(iii) When we put a verb after ‘as well as’, we most often use the ‘-ing’ form. For example,
Smoking is dangerous, as well as making you smell bad.
(Not,…..as well as it makes you smell bad.)
As well as breaking his leg, he hurt his arm.
(not,….as well as he broke his leg….)
(iv) After an infinitive in main clause, an infinitive without ‘to’ is possible. For example,
I have to feed the animals as well as look after the children.
Note the difference between the following:
(a) She sing as well as playing the piano.
(=She not only plays, but also sings.)
(b) She sings as well as she plays the piano.
(=Her singing is as good as her playing.)
(v) If two subjects are joined by the conjunction ‘as well as’ their finite verb should agree in number and person with
the first subject. For example,
He as well as I is innocent in this matter.
(vi) The conjunction ‘as well as’ should never be used in place of ‘and’ if the first subject is preceded by the word
‘both’. For example,
Both Ram and Shyam came.
(Not, Both Ram as well as Shyam came.)
When the word ‘before’ is used as a conjunction, it can introduce a subordinate clause only. while using ‘before’ as a
conjunction care should be taken.
(i) ‘Before’ is preceded by a clause in the ‘past perfect tense’ and followed by a clause in ‘past indefinite’ provided it
refers to a past event. For example,
The train had started before I reached the station.
(ii) To express a future event ‘before’ is generally preceded by a clause in future indefinite (simple) tense and followed
by present perfect tense. In some cased ‘before’ may introduce a clause in present indefinite tense to indicate a future
event. For example,
I will telephone you before I come.
(Not,….before I will come)
I shall not go home before I have signed the letters.
(=before the moment when I have completed the letters)
Note: Look at the sentence given below:
He went out before I had finished my sentence.
(=….before the moment when I had completed my sentence)
In this sentence, a past perfect tense can refer to a time later than the action of main verb. This is unusual.
(iii) In a formal style, we often use the structure before….ing. For example,
Please put out all lights before living the office.
Before beginning the books, she spent five years on research.
(i) ‘Ago’ follows an expression of time. For example,
I met her five weeks ago. (not ago five weeks)
(ii) An expression with ‘ago’ refers to a finished tie, and is normally used with a past tense not a present perfect tense.
She phoned a few minutes ago. (not, she has phoned…)
Where is Mike? He was working outside ten minutes ago.
(iii) The difference between ‘ago’ and ‘for’
‘Ago’ says how long before the present something happened. ‘For’ (with a past tense) says how long it lasted.
Compare the following:
He died three years ago. (=three years before now)
(Not, He died for three years. Or ….for three years ago.)
He was ill for three years before he died.
(=His illness lasted three years)
(iv) ‘Ago’ and ‘before’ with time expressions; count back
We use ‘ago’ with ‘past tense’ and a time expression to ‘count back’ from the present, to say how long before
now something happened.
We can use ‘before’ in the same way (with a ‘past perfect tense’) to count back from a past moment. Compare the
I met that woman in Patna three years ago.
(not,….three years before/before three years)
When we got talking, I found out that I had been at school with her husband ten years before.
(not,…..ten years ago).
So that, In order that
(i) These structures are used to talk about purpose. ‘So that’ is more common than ‘in order that’, especially in an
informal style. They are often followed by auxiliary verbs such as ‘can’ or ‘will’ ‘may’ is more formal. For example,
She is staying here for six months so that she can perfect her English.
We send monthly reports in order that they may have full information.
(ii) Present tenses are sometimes used for the future. For example,
I am going to make an early start so that I don’t /won’t get stuck in the traffic.
We must write to him in order that he does/will not feel that we are hiding things.
(iii) In sentences about the past, ‘would’, ‘could’ or ‘should’ are generally used with verbs after so that/in order that.
Might’ is possible in a very formal style. For example,
Maya talked to the shy girl so that she wouldn’t feel left out.
I took my gold clubs so that I could play at the weekend.
They met on a Saturday in order that everybody should be free to attend.
He built a chain of castles so that he might control the whole country.
In case, If
(i) ‘in case’ is mostly used to talk about precautions – things which we do inj order to be ready for possible future
situations. For example,
I always take an umbrella in case it rains.
(=…..because it might rain)
To talk about the future, we use a present tense after ‘in case’. For example,
I have bought a chicken in case you mother stays to lunch.
(not….in case you mother will stay…)
(ii) We often use ‘should + infinitive’ (with a similar meaning to ‘might’) after ‘in case’. This adds the meaning ‘by
chance’. For example,
I have bought a chicken in case your mother should stay to lunch.
This structure is especially common in sentences about the past. For example
I wrote down her address in case I should forget it.
The meaning ‘by chance’ can also be expressed by ‘(should) happen to’. For example,
We took our swimming things in case we happened to find a pool.
(Or,….in case we should happen to find a pool)
(iii) ‘In case’ and ‘if’ are normally used in quite different ways.
(a) ‘Do A in case B happens’ means ‘Do A (first) because B might happen later’. For example,
Let us buy a bottle of wine in case Rameshu comes.
(= Let us buy some wine now because Ramesh might come later)
You should insure your car in case there is an accident.
(The care is to be insured as a precautionary measure before the accident)
I am taking an umbrella in case it rains.
People insure their houses in case they catch fire.
(Not,…..if they catch fire.)
(b) ‘Do A if B happens’ means ‘Do A if B has already happened’. For example,
Let us buy a bottle of wine if Ramesh comes.
(= we will wait and see. If Ramesh comes, then we will buy the wine. If he doesn’t we won’t)
You should ring 5321, if there is a fire.
(Telephone is to be used after the breaking out of fire)
I will open the umbrella if it rains.
(not, I will open the umbrella in case it rains.)
People telephone the fire brigade if their houses catch fire.
(Not,….telephone….in case their houses catch fire.)
Thus, we can conclude that ‘in case’ expresses a precaution and should be used when an advanced action is intended in
order to be safe or ready if there is a problem later, whereas ‘if’ refers to a result or consequence and should be used when
a consequent action is intended in order to solve the present problem.
(i) When we join to or more grammatical similar expressions, we usually put ‘and’ before the last. For example,
We drank, talked and danced.
I wrote the letters, Prakash addressed them, Ganesh bought the stamps and Aryan posted them.
(ii) Some common expressions with ‘and’ have a fixed order which cannot be changed. The shortest expression often
comes first. For example,
bread and butter (not butter and bread)
hands and knees (not, knees and hands)
young and pretty
thunder and lightning
black and white
cup and saucer
knife and fork
(iii) ‘And’ is used in the following senses also:
Ten and ten is twenty. (plus/addition)
She is young and beautiful. (also/in addition to)
He took out his gun and fired. (i.e. and then) (sequence)
Study this book and you will improve your English. (result/consequence)
Give me blood and I will give your freedom. (result/consequence)
He came her and saw his mother. (purpose)
(i.e. He came here to see his mother)
She can dance for hours and hours. (continuing process)
The baby cried and cried. (continuing process)
It is getting colder and colder. (gradual increase or decrease)
It is getting worse and worse. (gradual increase or decrease)
(iv) There are teachers and teachers.
(i.e., there are good teacher and bad teacher as well.)
In this construction nouns joined by ‘and’ are repeated only once to indicate contrast between different kinds of
the same person or thing.
(i) Contrast/concession: For example,
She is very rich but she is unhappy.
He is poor but honest.
Notice that ‘but’ introduces a word /phrase / clause contrasting it with what preceded.
(ii) In spite of: For example,
He worked hard but he failed in the examination.
i.e. he failed in the examination in spite of hard work.
(iii) Disagreement /Surprise : For example
You like her very much, but I don’t. (disagreement)
You don’t like fish, but I do. (disagreement)
They are going to get married. But that is unthinkable. (surprise )
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