Monday, March 13, 2006
Included in the long list of writing tips no one ever told my students in their 16 years of formal education before entering law school: "not only, ... but also" is a weak way to structure an argument. Some students think the obvious sense of addition created by this structure enhances the persuasiveness of the sentence. But they discount the ennervating effect of its obliqueness. Usually they can be convinced with a quick example. Here's one:
Not only is the weather stormy, but also there has been local tornado damage.
Could be stronger as:
The weather is stormy, and there has been local tornado damage.
Works every time to produce a more direct, persuasive sentence. (Not much we could do about the storms though.) (spl)