Correlative Conjunctions

What Are Correlative Conjunctions?

Correlative Conjunctions are basically a pair of Conjunctions which are used together as a set, in order to make one sentence element relate to the other. They always occur in a team and the user has to use both in the same sentence to make it work.

Correlative Conjunctions include pairs like “both / and”, “either/or”, “neither/nor”, “not/but” and “not only/but also”


i.         Every night, either the sound of the traffic or raucous neighborhood keeps me awake.

ii.       Not only John but also Jack has got feelings for you.

Detailed list:

·         Either/or( Indicates a choice / possibility)

Example - I want either the tea or the coffee.

·         Both/and  (Used for combining two elements words or phrases of exactly same importance in a sentence)

Example -We'll have both the chocolate mousse and wine.

·         Whether/or(Used for expressing two different options within a sentence and can be used both for confirmation and negation)

Example - I didn't know whether you'd want the dry version or the gravy version, so I got both.

·         Neither/nor(Used for negating two different choices)

Example - Oh, you want neither the chicken nor the fish? No problem.

·         Not only/but also(Used to combine sentences that are demonstrating two choices that are contradictorily but true )

Example - I'll eat them both - not only the chicken but also the fish.

·         Just As / so (Used for explaining a relation or similarity between two subjects)

Example - Just as you could be stubborn , so could I .

Other lesser used Examples:

Not/but - I see you're in the mood not for a movie but theater. I have got ticket for both of them.

As/as - Bowling isn't as fun as batting.

Such/that - Such was the nature of their hazardous expedition that they never would have made it even if the weather had been favourable.

 Scarcely/when - I had scarcely walked in the door when I found them in the compromising position and made a hasty exit.

As many/as - There are as many holes as buttons in this dress.

No sooner/than - I'd no sooner lie to you than make a death wish.

Rather/than - She'd rather live her life according to her terms than toe the line.


Correlative Conjunctions, connect two equal parts of a sentence. In this sense, they have more in common with Co-ordinating Conjunctions than Subordinating Conjunction which joins a Dependent clause to a main clause.

Correlative Conjunctions, much like their counterpart Co-ordinating Conjunctions connect words and phrases that carry equal weight age within the sentence structure.

For example, "both/and" connects either two subjects or two objects:

·         Both Radha and I scored well in the exam. (subjects)

·         Jon enjoyed both the movie and the book. (objects)


"As/as" compares nouns using an adjective or an adverb:

·         Jack is as intelligent as Johnny.

·         A giraffe can't run as fast as a gazelle.


"Not only/but also" can connect nouns or entire clauses:

·         I'm not only going to start a separate company, but also shifting to a new house.

·         Not only will I make you pay the penalty, but also put you behind bars.

English Grammar and Composition

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