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The difference between "not only by Eliot" and "not only by Eliot" preceded by a comma is that the latter is a non-restrictive adverbial and the former a restrictive one.

Sentence 1 means "Fielding was considered a great writer by some other people in addition to Eliot."  (Restrictive)

Sentence 2 means "Fielding was generally considered a great writer, Eliot was not the only person who considered Fielding a great writer.  (Non-restrictive)

      

@navi posted:

Are these sentences correct:

1) Fielding was considered a great writer not only by Eliot.
2)Fielding was considered a great writer, not only by Eliot.


I expect the 'not only...' phrase to be followed by 'but also...'. The sentences don't sound correct to me.

Hello, Navi—I think f6pafd has an interesting perspective on the two sentences. My first instinct was to agree with you that the sentences aren't correct. However, considering the obviously correctness of the cleft sentence

1a) It was not only by Eliot that Fielding was considered a great writer.

I realized that the problem with (1) is simply that you have presented it as a stand-alone sentece. In a live context, it would be followed by another sentence that would render it perfectly natural. The other sentence needn't be passive:

1b) Fielding was considered a great writer not only by Eliot. Faulkner and Plath also considered Fielding a great writer.

In my opinion, (2) is not correct. I think that it needs either the addition of a "but also" component at the end or the addition of an "and" component before "not only by Eliot."

2a) Fielding was considered a great writer, not only by Eliot, but also by many other literary giants.
2b) Fielding was considered a great writer, and not only by Eliot. Many other writers considered Fielding a great writer, as well.

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