Correlative Conjunctions

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Correlative Conjunctions

What Are Correlative Conjunctions?

Correlative conjunctions are the best friends of conjunctions - they’re always used in pairs to relate one part of a sentence to another.
They have both a coordinating conjunction with an adjective or adverb. When using them, sometimes the sentence sounds odd if you forget to put its BFF in with it.

For example,

Correct Not only do I love to eat, but also I love to cook.
Odd Not only do I love to eat, I love to cook.
It’s just weird without its bestie!

What are some examples?

The most common correlative conjunctions include the following:

Common Correlative Conjuctions

Correlative Conjunction Pair Example
both…andWe love to paint with both oil and watercolors.
either…orEither you walk faster, or we’ll be late for the party.
if…thenIf you want to get better, then you will have to practice more.
neither...norNeither he nor she knew when the ballet would end.
no sooner…thanNo sooner had it stopped raining than we saw a rainbow.
not only…but alsoNot only is that dog fast, but he’s also incredibly smart.
such…thatIt’s such a tiny purse that I can’t fit much inside.
whether…orWhether you wash or I dry, we still have to do the dishes.


Both conjunctions must be equal in a grammatical way of speaking in order to balance out the sentence. So, if you use a noun after one conjunction, you need to use a noun after the correlating one as well.

Example: If you stop biting your fingernails, then she will take you for a manicure.

The conjunction if used the pronoun you after it, so the correlative conjunction then needed a pronoun as well to balance out the sentence - in this case, the pronoun she.

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