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Despite knowing how the phrase "not to mention ..." is often used, it still grates on me to use it because I am in the act of "mentioning" even as I use it. I found it helpful to read the origins of the phrase here, but I would really like to use an alternative word or phrase that means the same thing. Any suggestions?

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'Not to mention' in my judgement seldom if ever means 'and we're not going to mention ... / and we mustn't/shouldn't mention ...', but rather 'and we haven't even mentioned ... yet'. It's thus an unusual construction rather than an illogical one. And it has the advantage of highlighting the principal reason (etc) by putting it last. –  Edwin Ashworth Apr 9 at 20:58
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You will find that many idioms make no sense when analyzed literally. However, the process of analyzing it will make it sound more wrong, by a phenomenon called jamais vu. –  AndreKR Apr 9 at 21:47

6 Answers 6

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The mentioning while professing not to mention is a figure of speech known as apophasis.

(rhetoric) the device of mentioning a subject by stating that it will not be mentioned: I shall not discuss his cowardice or his treachery

An alternative to not to mention is let alone.

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Seems like "let alone" is also a case of apophasis, as would be "much less" or "never mind". Is there an equivalent for this rhetorical device? –  pnhgiol Apr 9 at 21:19
    
They both mean the latter doesn't need to be mentioned, but I don't think they are equivalent: "A not to mention B" means "A establishes C on its own so well that B doesn't even need to be considered", and "A let alone B" means "Given A, B goes without saying". –  nmclean Apr 10 at 12:41
    
@nmclean Don't disagree. And there are circumstnaces where substitution probably doesn't work. –  bib Apr 10 at 12:43

I'd consider not to mention as a type of scalar focus marker. It cannot be replaced by any of the suggested wordings in the other answers without stripping it of its special focus-marking properties. Basically, X not to mention Y can be paraphrased as:

"X should be considered noteworthy; and if you don't think so, there is the related fact Y which is possibly even more noteworthy than X is."

or...

"X supports my argument. If X does not support my argument, then there is Y which supports my argument a fortiori.

Don't leave it out of your repertoire for such silly reasons as its literal reading.

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How about simply using and or as well as?

He has two houses in France, not to mention three farms in Germany.

He has two houses in France and three farms in Germany.

He has two houses in France as well as three farms in Germany.

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Emphasis is lost. –  Edwin Ashworth Apr 9 at 20:59
    
The first lines leaves me thinking "what else does he have", the 2nd line does not. –  Ian Apr 10 at 12:08

as well as, in addition to

  • I don't like swimming, no to mention going underwater.
  • I don't like swimming, as well as going underwater.
  • I don't like dogs, not to mention cats.
  • I don't like dogs, in addition to cats.
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These aren't quite idiomatic - seems strange to use "in addition to" after a negative like "I don't like ...". –  pnhgiol Apr 9 at 21:15

There may not be an exactly equivalent phrase, but there may be some that work about as well in certain contexts. For instance, "more importantly" may work when the statement it introduces carries extra weight specifically because of its importance.

Personally, I sometimes use "moreover" in this way; although its standard meaning doesn't actually indicate emphasis on the item it introduces, it's a rare enough word that it provides emphasis simply by being conspicuous, and I tend to think that the presence of the word "more" at the beginning of the word "moreover" probably provides a slight emphasis in the reader's mind even if that's not part of the standard definition.

(I also tend to use "furthermore" similarly, although in my mind it provides somewhat less emphasis.)

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How about using "last but not least" or simply "plus?'

They own two houses, a yacht and, last but not least, a jet.

The Urban Escape Malibu Wine Tasting Tour -- the finest of our airborne LA tours -- includes all of this, plus a helicopter trip.

Also, consider the expression "let alone" for negative statements.

We have no room for another houseguest, let alone [=even less for] an entire family.

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+1 for let alone. –  David M Apr 9 at 23:28

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