Correlative Conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions are conjunctions made up of two or more words that must be used together. Correlative conjunctions join words, phrases, and clauses of the same category and may only join two elements.

Here are some common correlative conjunctions:

both . . . and

either . . . or

just as . . . so

neither . . . nor

no sooner . . . than

not . . . but

not only . . . but also

whether . . . or

Both . . . and works much like and does but adds more emphasis to the statement and highlights the fact that there are two elements being presented. Both . . . and is only used to connect words and phrases, not independent clauses.

Both Aaron and Steve will be giving speeches at the ceremony.
Lynn enjoys both running and painting.

Either . . . or is similar to or but narrows the choice to just two options.

You can either take care stay home or come to the store with us.
After the game, we’ll either have pizza to celebrate, or we’ll have pizza anyway to make ourselves feel better.

Just as . . . so is used to show that what is presented in the second clause is the same or similar to what is presented in the first.

Just as we won last year, so we will win again this year.
Just as Sara loves dogs, so Angie loves cats.

Neither . . . nor is basically the opposite of both . . . and. Instead of positively emphasizing two elements, it negates both elements being joined.

Neither Rob nor Brandon knows how to swim.
The manager was neither late nor absent from work all year.

Not . . . but is used to show a contradiction between the elements being joined. It indicates that the first element is not the case and emphasizes that the second is true.

Stan’s parents were not angry but disappointed.
Not one person failed the test, but half the class scored below fifty percent.

Not only . . . but also emphasizes the second element as an addition to or contradiction to the first. When joining independent clauses, also is separated from but by the subject of the second clause.

Not only did it rain, but there was also an earthquake.
Mr. Anderson is not only an intellectual but also a jiu-jitsu expert.

Whether . . . or can be used to show that an outcome is certain no matter which of the two options it presents is chosen. It can also be used to show uncertainty about the two options presented.

Whether you win or lose, you should still have a good attitude.
I don’t know whether the current champion or the new challenger will win the match.
%d bloggers like this: