Grammar Points #2: Don’t Mention ‘Not to Mention’

old-school-teacher-large_030511092537-1Did your high school English teacher remind you to “Don’t state the obvious” when writing research papers or essays? Well, the same holds true in any kind of writing. If you have to mention “not to mention” — which usually means “to say nothing of something too obvious to mention” — then don’t mention it.

“Our company offers excellent customer service, not to mention friendly employees.”

If your customer service is excellent, one can presume that your staff members are friendly, too. Usually, those two things go together.

“It can be a cliché to point out a second album as a sign of maturing, but maturity (not to mention confidence) certainly goes a long way … ” (from review on Consequence of Sound)

If “confidence” is worth mentioning, why not make a bigger deal of it? In this case, “not to mention” can also suggest “to say nothing of,’ but you don’t need either idiomatic expression. How about this?

“It can be a cliché to point out a second album as a sign of maturing, but maturity — and confidence — certainly go a long way … ” [Emphasis mine.]

Use of “not to mention” dates back to at least the 17th century, but just because Milton used it in his “Of Education” tract in 1644 — and to begin a sentence, no less! — doesn’t mean you need to insert it into your blog, promo copy or anything else.

Of course, mentioning “not to mention” isn’t an egregious error, nor does it count as a significant grammar gaffe. But it shouldn’t be used when it’s unnecessary or a better sentence construction is available.


Want More?

Click here for Grammar Points #1: ‘Couldn’t Care Less’ vs. ‘Could Care Less.’

Like this content? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and start writing better at work — and in life.