Correlative Conjunctions for intermediate learners

Correlative conjunctions are pairs of words that join or correlate phrases or words with equal importance in a sentence.

"Correlative Conjunctions" in English Grammar

What Are Correlative Conjunctions?

Correlative conjunctions are pairs of words that are used to connect two words, phrases, or clauses that have equal importance and similar grammatical structure in a sentence.

Common Correlative Conjunctions

In the following list you can learn common correlative conjunctions used in English:

Correlative Conjunctions: Uses

Since these conjunctions relate words, phrases, and clauses to each other, It is important to know what each pair does. Study the following table carefully:

Conjunctions used to join words and phrases Conjunctions used to join clauses
Not...but Not...but
Either...or Either...or
Neither...nor Neither...nor
Both...and Whether...or
Not only...but also Not only...but also
As...so

In this lesson, we are going to discuss some of them in more details.

Either...Or

When indicating two possibilities or choices, we often use the correlative conjunction pair 'either...or'. It is used to present a choice between two options and can be used to connect words, phrases, or independent clauses. Let us examine some examples below:

You have to choose either the pink doll or the purple one.

Here, the pair is used to join two words.

Either she was too busy or she didn't respect me.

As you can see, the pair is used to connect two independent clauses.

Neither...Nor

'Neither...nor' are used to present a negative choice between two options. They are the opposite of 'either...or' and are used to indicate that neither of the two options is true or applicable. They can be used to connect words, phrases, or independent clauses. Let us study some examples below:

Neither my friend nor my fiancé likes pasta.

Here, the pair is used to connect two words.

She neither likes him nor dislikes him.

Warning!

Please note that when the words being connected are singular, we use a singular verb with both these pairs. However, if either of the words is plural, we can use a plural form of the verb. Compare the following examples:

Neither my friends nor my mother like to come to your party.

Here, since one of the nouns is plural, we use the plural form of the verb.

Either she or her boyfriend takes it.

As you can see, since both nouns are singular, the singular form of the verb is used.

Whether...Or

When we want to indicate two options or possibilities, we can use 'whether...or'. However, this pair is only used to join independent clauses. Take a look at the following examples:

I don't know whether I should continue this relationship or end it right now.

You must decide for yourself whether you want to study abroad or continue studying in your hometown.

Warning!

Please note that when we use this pair in a negative sentence, we can use different structures:

You must decide for yourself whether you want to study abroad or not.

Whether or not you want to study abroad, you must decide for yourself.

Whether you want to study abroad or whether you don't want to, you must decide for yourself.

As...So

When we want to draw a comparison between two things or people that are similar, we mainly use the pair 'as...so'. Take a look at the following examples carefully:

Just as you like pop music, so your friend likes heavy metal genre.

As you can see, 'just' can be added to this pair to make it a bit informal.

Just as she likes to talk so much, so he enjoys listening to her.

Both...And

'Both...and' is used to connect two elements that are true or applicable at the same time. It can be used to connect words, phrases, or clauses. Study the following examples carefully:

He did an excellent job both executing the plan and communicating with his team.

You can have both an ice cream and a ball.

Subject-verb Agreement

When joining two subjects together, it is important to remember that the verb must agree with the subject that is closest to it. Take a look at the following examples:

Either the child or the parent is leaving this room immediately.

As you can see, the second subject and the verb are both singular.

Either the child or his parents are leaving this room immediately.

Here, both the subject and the verb are plural.

Tip

It is useful to know that when we use 'neither/nor', we do not use a negative verb form. The verb is always affirmative in such sentences. Carefully examine the following example:

Neither the cat nor its owner could cross the street.

(Not Neither the cat nor its owner couldn't...)

Comments

Loading recaptcha

You might also like

Conjunctions

bookmark
In order to add to your bookmarks you must sign in to your account
To connect two sentences to each other, we need some words to link them without breaking the structure of the sentences. Let us learn these linking words.

Subordinating Conjunctions

bookmark
In order to add to your bookmarks you must sign in to your account
Subordinating conjunctions joins subordinate or dependent clauses to the main or independent clauses. To know all about these tricky grammatical words, click!

Coordinating Conjunctions

bookmark
In order to add to your bookmarks you must sign in to your account
Coordinating conjunctions are words that their main job is joining two equal grammatical notions together. Here, we will discuss them more thoroughly.

Conjunctions of Time

bookmark
In order to add to your bookmarks you must sign in to your account
Conjunctions of time connect two clauses while stating the time. In this lesson, we will learn all about them.

Conjunctions of Concession

bookmark
In order to add to your bookmarks you must sign in to your account
Conjunctions are categorized into different groups. In this lesson, we will learn about conjunctions of concession.

Conjunctions of Place

bookmark
In order to add to your bookmarks you must sign in to your account
The conjunction of place is a kind of subordinating conjunction talking about the whereabouts of something. In this lesson, we will learn all about them.
LanGeek
Download LanGeek app