Some common correlative conjunctions include "both…and," "either…or," "neither…nor," and "not only…but also." Using these conjunctions correctly can be a bit tricky, but with a little practice, you'll be using them like a pro in no time!
If you're looking to improve your grammar, one area you may want to focus on is using correlative conjunctions correctly. Correlative conjunctions are pairs of words that are used together to join two clauses.
Take a look at more example sentences that contain correlative conjunctions:
My brother is either playing video games or writing music on his PC.
We received neither the package nor the invoice.
Jenna not only plays the violin, but also sings professionally.
We invited both the Rodriguezes and the Losapios to dinner.
There were as many applicants as there were seats in the program.
I could no sooner answer him than he called me back.
The kids would rather eat ramen than scrambled eggs.
Every single one of these sentences can be reworded to remove the correlative conjunctions and still make sense, but they might get longer or lose some clarity. For example, we can rework the last example to “The kids would eat scrambled eggs, but would prefer ramen.” No meaning is lost, but the version with the correlative conjunctions emphasizes the kids’ preference for ramen by placing it ahead of the scrambled eggs.
Here are a few tips on how to use correlative conjunctions correctly:
- Make sure that the two clauses you're joining with a correlative conjunction are equal in length and difficulty. For example, you wouldn't want to use "not only" to join two short, simple clauses like "I'm tired" and "I need a nap." This construction is called a "run-on sentence" and is considered incorrect grammar.
- Pay attention to the word order. Remember that the word order for each clause must be the same. For example, if you're using "either…or," the word order for each clause should be subject + verb. So you would say "Either I'm tired or I need a nap," not "Either I need a nap or I'm tired."
- When using "neither…nor," the word order for each clause is reversed. So you would say "I'm neither tired nor do I need a nap."
- Be careful with confusing words. Some words, like "but" and "yet," can be used as both conjunctions and adverbs. Make sure you're using the correct word based on what you're trying to accomplish. For example, if you're joining two clauses with "but," you're using it as a conjunction and should use "but" at the beginning of the second clause. If you're using "but" as an adverb, you would use it at the end of the first clause to show contrast.