Not Only But Also: Connie Sobchak meditates on a reluctant spring that she’s altogether ready for

I was walking the dog towards One Mile, in the snow, on a slushy trail, under branches threatening to fall on us when the words not only but also popped into my head.

Trying to trace the origin of these random words proved fruitless though it seemed like they were prompted by the snowfall-a producer of much stronger, more colourful language (okay outright curses) as I gazed out the window first thing in the morning.

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I recognized the futility of my search for a beginning and just went with playing with the phrase:

Not only was it sunny yesterday but also it was warm.

We not only ran but we also sat on the deck.

My little game did not last long which is very fortunate for anyone taking the time to read this post.

What did last, however, was thinking about the concept.

When I was teaching English, the correlative conjunction not only but also was surprisingly uninteresting to students; they could run with the idea of parallelism because they liked the word parallel, having learned in an earlier grade to remember the two l’s because of their resemblance to railroad tracks (which are parallel if the analogy doesn’t immediately strike you as happened to me.)

Anyway, most kids could see that run, skip and playing didn’t flow quite as smoothly as run skip and play and they were able to fix any parallelism errors quite handily.

The cumbersome name of the other grammatical term doomed it.

But, not only have I digressed, I also have transgressed- my quest for understanding has led me to dishonesty.

I knew right away that the snowfall had discouraged me, falling as it did so closely to the first day of spring. I also knew that I had immediately looked for some small patch of green or at least for some crocuses poking through the white.

Searching for balance instigated the four words rumbling about in my mind. Spring is not only the lamb but also the lion; not only snow on the branches but also buds emerging. Spring is the balance between two seasons-no wonder it can tilt you into wretchedness one day and joyfulness the next.

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