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I don't really understand the writing style of the following sentence. Please explain it to me. Thanks.

I do not only love my mom, I also love my dad.

closed as unclear what you're asking by herisson, JHCL, choster, Mitch, tchrist Nov 3 '15 at 2:05

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  • I dont think the statement is grammatically correct. It should be i dont only love my mom, but i also love my dad. The pair of not only is but also. – Jjang eu Sep 30 '15 at 3:11
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    I think it's more common to write Not only do I X, I also Y. – Barmar Oct 1 '15 at 20:51
  • What do you mean by "style"? Do you not understand what it means, or how the grammar works? – herisson Nov 1 '15 at 5:49
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Your mom is not the only person you love; you also love your dad.

What exactly do you mean by writing style?

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    I mean "Is it a negative sentence or not only... but also pettern?". – yethu Sep 30 '15 at 4:58
  • I'm sorry, I still don't understand what you're asking. – RoseofWords Sep 30 '15 at 5:01
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    I'd like to know the use of "do" in the sentence.Is it OK, RoseofWords? – yethu Sep 30 '15 at 5:39
  • It makes the sentence sound awkward. I don't know if I'd say it's wrong grammatically, but it should definitely be avoided. This is in general a very strange sentence, and since I'm not entirely sure what you're trying to say I can't currently offer any revisions. – RoseofWords Sep 30 '15 at 5:49
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(@RoseofWords has explained what the writer probably meant.)

Only can be problematic with respect to scope.

People put only pretty much anywhere in a sentence, and they still generally make themselves understood. Sometimes they need to add more information or context to clarify things.

In this case, the sentence would be clearer if only were placed closer to my mom and farther from love, to show that it qualifies the former and not the latter:

  • I do not love only my mom; I also love my dad.

Or even clearer (since also love can mean love and also have other feelings for):

  • I do not love only my mom; I love my dad also.

(Or too or as well.) In other words, move only near my mom, and move also near my dad.

  • 'Generally making yourself understood' is not always sufficient. I love not only my dad..., * and *Not only do I love my dad... have subtly different meanings. It is difficult to tell which is intended here. – Tim Lymington supports Monica Sep 30 '15 at 18:18
  • @TimLymington: That's what I said. Even though people often put only in spots that introduce the possibility of other interpretations from what is intended, they generally end up making themselves understood in spite of this, by adding emphasis or additional information or context. Much of verbal communication is imprecise or, when taken out of context, says things we do not really mean. Much of verbal communication serves to clarify things we've said that might be misleading. – Drew Sep 30 '15 at 18:27
  • @TimLymington: It's like course corrections during a space flight, where both the initial trajectory and the individual course corrections are often quite inaccurate. But with the help of our interlocutors echoing interpretations we did not intend, we somehow usually get where we wanted to go in the end. Overall, a process of successive approximation, but sometimes with wild detours - we do not necessarily get closer at each iteration (course correction). – Drew Sep 30 '15 at 18:30

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