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Important Correlative Conjunctions with Example Sentences

Important Correlative Conjunctions with Example Sentences

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Correlative conjunctions are the power duos of the conjunction world. As part of our exploration of English grammar, we’ll look at how these paired phrases help us connect elements in a sentence with balance and clarity. They’re not just any conjunctions; they come in pairs like ‘either/or’ and ‘neither/nor’, working together to ensure that different parts of a sentence are given equal emphasis.

Correlative Conjunctions

Correlative Conjunctions

Definition and Basics

Correlative conjunctions are a set of tools in our grammar kit that function in tandem to connect elements in a sentence. Unlike their standalone counterparts, these conjunctions always travel in pairs, establishing a relationship between comparable elements—be they words, phrases, or clauses. For clarity and correctness in our sentences, we ensure these connections maintain a parallel structure, meaning the same grammatical forms follow each part of the correlative conjunction.

Common Pairs

  • Both … and
  • Whether … or
  • As … as
  • Rather … than
  • Scarcely … when
  • Not only … but also
  • Either … or
  • So … as
  • No sooner … than
  • The more … the more
  • So … that
  • Hardly … when
  • Such … that
  • Neither … nor

Correlative Conjunction with Examples

Learn correlative conjunctions with example sentences.

Both … and

We use “both … and” to emphasize that two things are equally important.

  • We both admire her courage and her intelligence.

Not only … but also

“Not only … but also” adds extra information to emphasize that two facts are true.

  • She is not only intelligent but also extremely kind.

Either … or

We choose between two alternatives using “either … or.”

  • We can either go for a hike or stay home and watch a movie.

So … as

“So … as” is not as commonly used but can show similarity or equality between two things.

  • As talented as she is, she’s so humble as well.

No sooner … than

We use “no sooner … than” to show that something happened immediately after something else.

  • No sooner had we left the house than it began to rain.

The more … the more

“The more … the more” is a structure we use to show that two things change together.

  • The more we practice, the more we improve.

So … that

“So … that” explains the result or the effect of something.

  • It was so cold that the lake froze over.

Hardly … when

“Hardly … when” indicates that two events happen almost simultaneously, with the second event following closely after the first.

  • We had hardly arrived when the celebration started.

Such … that

We use “such … that” to emphasize a particular quality and its result.

  • It was such a compelling story that we couldn’t put the book down.

Neither … nor

“Neither … nor” means not the first one and not the second one.

  • Neither the blue shirt nor the red one fits me.

Whether … or

We use “whether … or” when there are two possibilities, and it does not matter which one.

  • We can’t decide whether to paint the room green or blue.

As … as

“As … as” compares things that are similar in some way.

  • She is as skilled as her sister.

Rather … than

We use “rather … than” when we prefer one thing over another.

  • We would rather go to the mountains than to the beach.

Scarcely … when

“Scarcely … when” is similar to “hardly … when,” indicating the immediacy of two events.

  • Scarcely had I gone to bed when the doorbell rang.

Usage Rules for Correlative Conjunctions

In exploring correlative conjunctions, we focus on three major areas: maintaining parallel structure, understanding punctuation, and ensuring subject-verb agreement. These rules help us join parts of sentences effectively and clearly.

Parallel Structure

When we use correlative conjunctions, we make sure the elements they connect are in the same grammatical or structural form. This is known as parallel structure. For instance, in the pair either/or, we expect to find a similar pattern like this:

  • Either you schedule the meeting or I will.

The bolded sections are both in the subject-verb format, maintaining a balance that is crucial for readability and coherence.

Punctuation with Correlative Conjunctions

Punctuation plays a subtle, yet key role when we work with correlative conjunctions. Typically, no comma is needed unless the correlative conjunction is being used to join two independent clauses. Here’s an example where a comma is necessary:

  • Not only did she finish the project on time, but also she exceeded all expectations.

In this case, we use a comma before ‘but also’ because each phrase can stand alone as a complete sentence.

Agreement in Correlative Conjunctions

It’s important for us to ensure that the verb agrees with the subject closest to it when we use correlative conjunctions. Look at the following table we’ve constructed for clarity:

Incorrect Usage Correct Usage
Neither the teacher nor the students was late. Neither the teacher nor the students were late.
Either the managers or the CEO approve the plan. Either the managers or the CEO approves the plan.

Interactive Exercises

Exercise 1: Choose the Correct Correlative Conjunction Pair

Select the correct correlative conjunction pair to complete each sentence.

  1. Neither the blue shirt (nor / or) the red shirt was available in my size.
  2. You can either take the bus (or / but) walk to get to school.
  3. Not only did she apologize, (but also / and) she offered to fix the problem.
  4. Both the novel (and / nor) the movie are worth checking out.
  5. (Whether / Either) you’re coming or not, please let me know in advance.
  6. She is (both / either) intelligent (and / or) hardworking.
  7. You must decide (whether / either) you will attend college (or / nor) start working right away.
  8. I will (either / neither) have the soup (or / nor) the salad.
  9. (Not only / Both) the teachers but also the principal were impressed with the project.
  10. He would (neither / either) confirm (nor / or) deny the rumors.


  1. nor
  2. or
  3. but also
  4. and
  5. Whether
  6. both / and
  7. whether / or
  8. either / or
  9. Not only
  10. neither / nor

Exercise 2: Fill in the Blanks with the Correct Correlative Conjunction Pair

Fill in the blanks with the correct correlative conjunction pair from the list provided.

List of pairs: both/and, either/or, neither/nor, not only/but also, whether/or

  1. __________ my mother __________ my father knows how to speak Spanish.
  2. You can __________ have dessert __________ go out to play, but not both.
  3. The movie was __________ entertaining __________ informative.
  4. __________ my friend __________ I are planning to go to the concert.
  5. __________ the cake __________ the cookies are left; we ate them all.
  6. __________ you agree with the policy __________ not, it will be implemented.
  7. The scholarship will cover __________ tuition __________ books.
  8. __________ the singer __________ the band received much acclaim for their performance.
  9. I can __________ confirm __________ deny that this is the best coffee in town.
  10. The trip will be canceled __________ the weather is bad __________ not.


  1. Neither / nor
  2. either / or
  3. not only / but also
  4. Both / and
  5. Neither / nor
  6. Whether / or
  7. both / and
  8. Both / and
  9. neither / nor
  10. whether / or

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you properly use correlative conjunctions in sentences?

We use correlative conjunctions to connect two equal grammatical items within a sentence, such as two phrases or two clauses. They always come in pairs and should be placed before the items they are connecting.

Can you provide examples where ‘neither nor’ is used as correlative conjunctions?

Certainly! When we use ‘neither’ and ‘nor’, we’re indicating a negation of both parts of a pair. For instance, we might say, “She is neither a singer nor an actress.”

What are the main rules to keep in mind when using correlative conjunctions?

There are a few key rules: ensure that the structure after each conjunction is parallel, be cautious not to create double negatives, and maintain proper subject-verb agreement to avoid logical inconsistencies in your sentences.

What is the difference between coordinating conjunctions and correlative conjunctions?

Coordinating conjunctions, like ‘and’, ‘but’, and ‘or’, join individual words, phrases, or independent clauses. Correlative conjunctions also connect two equal parts of a sentence, but they always come in pairs, such as ‘both/and’ or ‘neither/nor’.

Could you list the pairs commonly recognized as correlative conjunctions?

Of course! Some common pairs include ‘both/and’, ‘either/or’, ‘neither/nor’, ‘not only/but also’, and ‘whether/or’. Each pair is used to connect related ideas with a particular relationship in mind.

Jiten jhurani

Friday 8th of January 2021



Thursday 3rd of December 2020

What is near a conjution?