Correlative Conjunctions




In our everyday communication, we use conjunctions to link ideas together and create a coherent message. 

Correlative conjunctions are a type of conjunction that connect two grammatically equal parts of a sentence.

 They are used to show the relationship between two ideas, phrases or clauses. 

These conjunctions work in pairs, hence the name ‘correlative’.

 Examples of correlative conjunctions include 

both…and, either…or, neither…nor and not only…but also. 

Definition of Correlative Conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions are words that connect two or more items or clauses that have equal value in a sentence.

 They come in pairs and relate corresponding words in different parts of the sentence. 

Correlative conjunctions can be divided into two types: 

coordinating correlative conjunctions  subordinating correlative conjunctions. 

Coordinating correlative conjunctions join grammatically equal sentence elements such as adjectives or nouns.

 Subordinating correlative conjunctions introduce clause relationships like cause-effect or purpose-result constructions.

 When using coordinating correlative conjunctions, it is important to remember that they must be used together – one cannot function without the other. 

Importance of Correlative Conjunctions in Writing and Speech

The use of correlative conjunctions helps writers achieve coherence through connections within sentences.. 

The correct use of these conjunctions can make writing clearer by showing the connection between two points being made.

 Using correct grammar when writing also suggests professionalism and attention to detail.

An individual who writes with precision is perceived better than someone who doesn’t care about grammar rules.

Understanding these forms will help writers feel confident about their writing skills which can impact how readers perceive them positively as well as making sure their message comes across accurately to their readers. 

Types of Correlative Conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions are used to join two clauses or words within a sentence.

 They come in two types: coordinating and subordinating correlative conjunctions. 

Coordinating Correlative Conjunctions

Coordinating correlative conjunctions are used to join two grammatically equal words, phrases, or clauses. 

There are four common coordinating correlative conjunctions: both…and, either…or, neither…nor, not only…but also. 

The conjunction “both… and” is used to connect two ideas that are similar in nature. 

For example, “Both John and Mary enjoyed the party.” 

The coordinating conjunction “either…or” is used when there are two options from which one can be chosen. 

For example, “Either you can come with me or stay at home.” 

Similarly, the coordinating conjunction “neither… nor” is used to indicate that none of the given options apply. 

For example: “Neither Peter nor his sister attended the event”. Finally, we have “not only…but also,” which emphasizes a relationship between two ideas by showing that they both exist together. 

For instance: “Not only did he finish his homework early but also cleaned his room”. 

Subordinating Correlative Conjunctions

Subordinating correlative conjunctions join an independent clause (a clause that can stand alone) with a dependent clause (a clause that cannot stand on its own as a sentence). 

These types of correlative conjunctions express cause-and-effect relationships between ideas. 

The most common subordinating correlative conjunctions include: 

– Such…that – So….that 

The subordinating correlative conjunction “such…that” expresses a result by introducing an adjective followed by a noun phrase and then followed by an independent clause expressing the result of the situation. 

For example: 

“The book was such a page-turner that I finished it in one day.” 

On the other hand, “so…that” expresses a result by introducing an independent clause with the word “so” and then followed by an adjective and noun phrase that describe the outcome of the situation.

 For instance: “It was so hot outside that we decided to go swimming instead.” 

Understanding correlative conjunctions and their subtypes are important for effective communication in both written and spoken language. 

Using them appropriately can help create balance within sentences while also ensuring clarity in meaning. 

Usage and Examples of Correlative Conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions are used to join two words, phrases, or clauses that are related and of equal importance in a sentence. 

To use them effectively, it is important to understand each type and the specific function it serves in a sentence. 

In this section, we will examine the different types of correlative conjunctions, their meanings and usage with examples, as well as common mistakes to avoid. 


Both…and is a coordinating correlative conjunction used to connect two items that are seen as equal in importance. 

It is often used when describing similarities between two things or actions. 

For example:

 “Both Sarah and John love playing tennis.” Here, both refers to Sarah and John who have equal importance in the sentence structure. 

Another example: “I want both pizza and ice cream for dinner.”

 In this case, both refers to the two food items – pizza and ice cream – which have equal importance. 

Common mistakes when using both…and include redundancy and incorrect verb agreement

. Avoid using additional words that repeat information already conveyed by each item represented by “both.” 


Either…or/Neither…nor is another type of coordinating correlative conjunction used to depict choices between two possible options. 

For example: “You can either go out with your friends tonight or stay at home.” 

Here either represents the choice between going out with friends or staying at home. 

Another example: “Neither Sally nor Bob wants to attend the party.” 

This sentence shows how neither represents how neither Sally nor Bob wants to attend the party. 

Common mistakes when using either…or/neither…nor include incorrect verb agreement, mixing up negatives (negating one but not both), double negatives (such as “I don’t want no…”), and improper use of “nor.” 

Not only…but also

Not only…but also is a subordinating correlative conjunction that emphasizes the unexpected addition of something.

 It is often used to express contrasts and create emphasis. 

For example: “Not only did James finish the project on time, but he also exceeded all expectations.” 

This sentence shows how not only emphasizes how James completed the project on time, but it was also done exceptionally well. 

Another example: “She not only sings beautifully but she also plays the guitar.”

 Here, not only emphasizes that she sings beautifully and also plays guitar. 

Common mistakes when using not only…but also include redundancy and incorrect placement within a sentence. 

Ensure that each clause is balanced in terms of length. 


Such…that/So…that are subordinating correlative conjunctions used to show the degree or extent of something in comparison to another item or action.

 They are often used to convey cause and effect relationships between two things. 

For example: “It was such a beautiful day that we decided to go for a picnic in the park.” 

Here, such emphasizes how beautiful the day was and led directly to deciding to go for a picnic in the park.

 Another example: “He was so hungry that he ate an entire pizza by himself.”

 In this case, so emphasizes his level of hunger that he ended up consuming an entire pizza alone. 

Common mistakes when using such…that/so…that include improper use of punctuation around clauses and incorrect verb agreement. 

Be sure to match verbs correctly with their subjects while checking for grammatical errors before publishing your article. 

Tips for Using Correlative Conjunctions Effectively

Avoid redundancy while using them

When using correlative conjunctions, always avoid redundancy. 

Redundancy occurs when you use the same word or phrase twice in the same sentence.

 For instance, saying “I am both happy and content” is redundant because the words happy and content have similar meanings.

 Therefore, it would be best to choose one word that encompasses both meanings such as “I am satisfied.” 

Use them to create balance between two clauses

Correlative conjunctions can help create balance between two clauses of a sentence.

 In doing so, they turn a simple sentence into a more complex one with a compound structure. 

One way to achieve this balance is by making sure the phrases on either side of the conjunction have equal weight and are parallel in structure. 

For example, you can say “Not only did I finish my project on time but also submitted it ahead of schedule.” 

Practice using

The more you practice using correlative conjunctions in your writing, the easier it becomes to use them effectively without sounding awkward or confusing. 

One way to practice is by creating simple sentences and then turning them into complex ones by adding correlative conjunctions.

 Another way is by studying examples from literature or speeches where they are used correctly. 


Correlative conjunctions are essential tools in writing and speech that make sentences more interesting and meaningful by creating relationships between ideas or phrases.

 To use them effectively, always avoid redundancy while ensuring balance between two clauses of a sentence.

 Remember that practice makes perfect when it comes to using correlative conjunctions effectively in your writing or speech-making skills! 

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