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I'm struggling to figure out which of the following constructions is optimal...

"Someone who is not only beautiful, but has a heart of gold."
"Someone who is not only beautiful, but also has a heart of gold."
"Someone who is not only beautiful, but has a heart of gold, as well."
"Someone who is not only beautiful, but who has a heart of gold."
"Someone who is not only beautiful, but who also has a heart of gold."
"Someone who is not only beautiful, but who has a heart of gold, as well."
"Someone who not only is beautiful, but has a heart of gold."
"Someone who not only is beautiful, but also has a heart of gold."
"Someone who not only is beautiful, but has a heart of gold, as well."
"Someone who not only is beautiful, but who has a heart of gold."
"Someone who not only is beautiful, but who also has a heart of gold."
"Someone who not only is beautiful, but who has a heart of gold, as well."

Any guidance or opinions?

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    How are you defining 'optimal'? – KillingTime Feb 24 at 8:27
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    I certainly don't think you need the word "who" twice, to refer to the same person. The first sentence seems perfectly alright to me. – WS2 Feb 24 at 8:29
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    The two items are "is beautiful" and "has a heart of gold", so ideally "not only" should come before "is" (although it's grammatical both ways). If the second item were an adjective, the better place for "not only" would be after "is": "is not only beautiful, but also kind." – Peter Shor Feb 24 at 11:40
  • It really does not matter which you use. I would tend to go for the shortest but, depending on the context, I might use one of the others. – Greybeard Feb 24 at 11:59
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Your suggestions which start "Someone who is not only beautiful, but..." are bad because they mislead the reader into expecting an adjective (or adjective phrase) which is parallel to "beautiful" and can follow "is".

A problem I see with your suggestion "Someone who not only is beautiful, but has a heart of gold." is that you want to portray two good aspects of the person's character, but the "but" leads the reader to expect a contrast. I think that you need an "also" or "as well" to prevent that interpretation. So on the whole, out of all your suggestions, I prefer these:

"Someone who not only is beautiful, but also has a heart of gold." "Someone who not only is beautiful, but has a heart of gold, as well."

You could replace that final "as well" with "too" -- that would work, too.

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  • Yes, the 'but' in the 'not only ... but also' has largely lost its contrastive force; the 'jarringness' is transferred to the surprising double whammy. And your first point is very true. I can't see where reasonable supporting references could come from; good answer. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 25 at 12:11
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The phrase 'Not only/but also' is called a 'correlative conjunction.' So, your sentence should be:

"Someone who not only is beautiful, but also has a heart of gold."

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    The fact that "not only/but also" is called a "correlative conjunction" doesn't mean that other ways of expressing the same thing are wrong; "but ... as well" is just as grammatical and idiomatic as "but also". – Peter Shor Feb 24 at 11:21
  • I'd opt for this too. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 25 at 12:06
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Not only intelligent but also handsome Not only rich but also loving

He can speak not only English but also Malayalam.

Our guides are not only easy but also useful.

Computer ensures not only accuracy but also speed.

@Rosie F: the examples are correct because, what follows after not only and but also are verbs.

"...not only is..., but also has..."

"Someone who not only is beautiful, but has a heart of gold, as well."

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