Correlative conjunctions

1st Part
Coordinating conjunctions

2nd Part
Subordinating conjunctions

3rd Part
Correlative conjunctions

Grammar in use

  • Topic : Correlative conjunctions
  • Skills : Grammar


What is a correlative conjunction?

Correlative conjunctions always come in a pairs and are used to join grammatically equal elements in a sentence.
They are used to illustrate how two words or phrases within a sentence relate to each other
Common pairs include either … orneither … nornot only … but also, and both … and.

  They can join two verbs, two nouns, two adjectives, two phrases, or two independent clauses.

Networking is important in business, not only for making connections but also for discovering new opportunities.

Correlative conjunctions have the same parallel structure. The two elements need to take the same grammatical form.

Incorrect: You can either complete the task by tomorrow or to ask for an extension.
Correct: You can either complete the task by tomorrow or ask for an extension.

Either/or”, “neither/nor”, “both/and”, “as/so”, and “whether/or” are all examples of correlative conjunction pairs.
When you see an “either”, it’s usually time to use its counterpart, “or”.

Correlative conjunctions don’t just connect nouns, though.
Depending on which ones we use, we can connect verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositional phrases, and even clauses.

VerbsI would rather drive than walk.
AdjectivesThe movie was not only funny but also educational.
Adverb and nounThe cheetah ran as fast as lightning.
Prepositional phrasesThe letter was neither from me nor from her.
ClausesWe haven’t decided whether we will go to the movies or we will go to the arcade.  

List of the most common correlative conjunction:
– either/or
– neither/nor
– such/that
– whether/or
– not only/but also
– both/and
– as many/as
– no sooner/than
– rather/than

Let’s take a look at a few example sentences:
Not only did I finish my project ahead of schedule, but I also received recognition for my hard work.
Either you submit the report by the deadline or you risk facing consequences for late submission.
She is not just a talented musician, but also a skilled songwriter.
Both the CEO and the CFO are responsible for ensuring the company’s financial success.
He not only excels in academics, but also in sports.
Both the teachers and the students need to work together to create a positive learning environment.

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