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The construction "not only" allows to ignore auxiliary verb. Eg.: He not only used this example, but he also reproduced it". What if I say "He didn't only use it, but...." Would it be so awkward if I said this? If not, (though I can suppose that it wouldn't sound natural but not necessarily wrong) what difference will it bring?

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olive beeThe construction "not only" allows (us) to ignore (the) auxiliary verb. Eg.: He not only used this example, but he also reproduced it".

Neither 'used' nor 'reproduced' are auxiliary verbs, so I don't understand your point.

'not only' contains the negative 'not', so we don't repeat 'not' elsewhere in the same clause.

olive beeWhat if I say "He didn't only use it, but...." Would it be so awkward if I said this? If not, (though I can suppose that it wouldn't sound natural but not necessarily wrong) what difference will it bring?

It would sound awkward, but it wouldn't change the meaning.

CJ

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I meant "didn't", not "used" or "reproduced"

And why do you think the presence of "didn't" makes the sentence awkward?

olive bee

And why do you think the presence of "didn't" makes the sentence awkward?

Pure intuition as a native speaker.

Opinions may vary on this point.

CJ

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olive bee

The construction "not only" allows to ignore auxiliary verb. Eg.: He not only used this example, but he also reproduced it". What if I say "He didn't only use it, but...." Would it be so awkward if I said this? If not, (though I can suppose that it wouldn't sound natural but not necessarily wrong) what difference will it bring?

The normal way of putting that is "Not only did he use it …." There is your helping verb. "He not only used …" sounds like a mistake to me, as does "He didn't only use …." People say them, but even you heard something wrong. Stick with the inverted form.

Thank you!

CJ, you said "not only' contains the negative 'not', so we don't repeat 'not' elsewhere in the same clause.'

I also don't understand your point., since 'He didn't only use..." also contains one "not".

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olive bee

CJ, you said "not only' contains the negative 'not', so we don't repeat 'not' elsewhere in the same clause.'

I also don't understand your point., since 'He didn't only use..." also contains one "not".

I wasn't referring to your sentence. I was just giving the general rule that we don't write something like "Not only he didn't ...".

CJ

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