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Correlative Conjunctions – How & Where to Use it in Sentences

As the name suggests, correlative conjunctions are pairs of words that connect two equally important clauses or phrases in one complete thought. Please continue reading this article in order to learn more about these important parts of language and the grammar rules that surround them.

Introduction of Correlative Conjunction

Relative conjunction is one of three types of conjunctions used in the English language to create smooth flow and reduce fragmented sentences, along with coordinating conjunctions and subordinating conjunctions, as well as coordinating conjunctions and subordinating conjunctions. There are two types of correlative conjunctions and they work in pairs to relate two parts of a sentence of equal importance. Two singular subjects will often be joined by single conjunction with a single verb, or two plural subjects will be joined with plural conjunction. The article applies a relation between two subjects, or between two verbs, that act in tandem with each other.

correlative conjunctions definition
correlative conjunctions definition

Correlative Conjunctions: 7 examples

Correlative conjunctions are used to describe a relationship between two subjects, describe details, or clarify. These parts of the sentence involve the first conjunction that connects to another part of the sentence with the second conjunction. Correspondences such as these are some of the most common forms of conjunctions.

  • Both/and – The use of “both” and “and” implies that the actions of two subjects are related. These correlative conjunctions can be used in sentences like: “We’ll both leave the party and take one car.”.
  • Either/or -The use of “either” and “or” connects two positive statements of equal weight. Say, for instance, “My brother is either working upstairs or slacking off downstairs.”
  • Neither/nor – This connects two negative statements of equal weight. As an example, you could say: “I will not watch the show nor read the book.”
  • Whether/or – When connecting two possible actions of a subject, it is “whether/or.” As an example, you might say, “I wasn’t sure whether you would show up or not.”
  • Not only/but also – “I’m hungry, but I’m also tired.”
  • Rather/than – As the subject prefers one thing over another, “rather/than” represents their preference. Say, for instance, “I prefer coffee to tea.”
  • Such/that – “Such/that” refers to a connection between independent clauses that apply a reason for an action. As an example, you could say, “I cannot get out of bed due to the pain of my headache.”
correlative conjunctions examples
correlative conjunctions examples

How to Use Correlative Conjunctions – 3 Tips

You can use these parts of speech in your sentences in a variety of ways according to a variety of helpful tips and rules. You should follow these rules when using correlative conjunctions.

  1. Keep subject and verb in agreement

When using correlative conjunctions, the subjects and verbs must match. The singular subject must match the singular verb, and the plural subject must match the plural verb. Select the subject that is closest to the verb if you have more than one subject. Rather than saying “Both the owner and his dogs run through the park,” you would say “Both the owner and his dogs run through the park.”

  1. Use a comma with independent clauses

You should use a comma only when your correlative conjunction separates two independent clauses, and not to separate the correlative conjunctions themselves. Consider the following two sentences: “Neither you nor I should wear pastels.” In this case, the latter is correct because both subjects depend on the same verb, “wear.”

  1. Make sure your sentence is parallel

To track the subjects in your sentences, parallelism is important in grammatical structure. If you’re making a list or discussing multiple items, parallel structure refers to the way you form your sentences. Here are two sentences: “My mom likes hiking and camping.” In the second phrase, “hiking” and “camping” are parallel with each other, while “to hike” and “camping” are not parallel in the first sentence.

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