Correlative Conjunctions - Explore Meaning, Definition, Usage and Examples

Sometimes, it so happens that there are related matters of equal importance that you would have to convey in a single sentence. It is in these scenarios that correlative conjunctions play a role. This article on correlative conjunctions will teach you all about their meaning, definition and usage along with examples to help you learn easily. Also, try out the practice questions given to check how far you have understood the topic.

Table of Contents

What is a Correlative Conjunction?

A correlative conjunction seems to be used in pairs and they correlate in order to make connections and provide equal importance to the points that are discussed in a sentence.

Definition of a Correlative Conjunction

According to the Collins Dictionary, correlative conjunctions are “made up of two or more words working together as a pair, to link two similar items.” Correlative conjunctions are defined as words that are “used to describe two or more things that are related to each other”, according to the Cambridge Dictionary. “Two words that are correlative are often used together but not usually used next to each other. For example, ‘either’ and ‘or’ are correlative conjunctions”, says the Macmillan Dictionary.

Examples of Correlative Conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions include:

  • Either…or
  • Neither…nor
  • Not only…but also
  • Whether…or
  • No sooner…than
  • Rather…than
  • Such…that
  • Scarcely…when
  • As many/much…as
  • Both…and

Here are some examples to help you understand how to use correlative conjunctions in sentences.

  • Either you learn how to do it or you will have to face the consequences.
  • Neither did Rachel nor her friends make it to the event.
  • Not only did they block the road but they also kept shouting slogans.
  • Manoj was saying that he is not sure whether he should stay back tonight or leave home immediately.
  • No sooner did my mom complete all the kitchen work than she started cleaning the house.
  • He’d rather do something useful than wasting time on this.
  • My cousin did such a stupid thing that everyone mocked him.
  • Ramesh had scarcely left work when his boss called and had to go back into the office again.
  • There are as many spoons as there are forks.
  • Both Indhu and Sheena liked the movie.

How to Use Correlative Conjunctions in Sentences?

Before you get too comfortable with using correlative conjunctions, there are a few pointers that you should keep in mind.

  • The most important thing that you have to focus on when using correlative conjunctions is maintaining the subject-verb agreement in the sentence.
    • If you are using a pair of correlative conjunctions to join two sentences with singular subjects, the verb should be singular as well.
    • If a correlative conjunction is used to join two sentences with plural subjects, the verb should be a plural one.
    • If a pair of correlative conjunctions are used to link sentences with a singular subject and a plural subject, the verb should agree to the subject (noun or pronoun) it is placed closest to.
  • Using the right pronouns in accordance with the subjects in the sentence is another point you have to take care when using correlative conjunctions.
    • If a pair of correlative conjunctions are used to link two sentences with singular nouns, the pronoun used in the sentence must be singular too.
    • If correlative conjunctions are used to combine two sentences with plural nouns, the pronoun used in the sentence must be plural too.
    • If a pair of correlative conjunctions are used to combine two sentences with a singular noun and a plural noun, the pronoun should be made singular or plural in accordance with the noun it is closest to.

Check Your Understanding of Correlative Conjunctions

Fill in the blanks with most appropriate correlative conjunctions in the following sentences:

1. ________ you ________ Seetha should make sure to attend the meeting.

2. __________ did he find the solution to the problem ________ helped his friends understand it.

3. ________ Rani ________ Ashwathy attended UPSC classes.

4. She’d __________ watch a movie ________ watch a series.

5. Ranjith did not know _________ he should take psychology _____ sociology as the allied paper.

Check the answers given below to find out how far you have understood the topic.

1. Either you or Seetha should make sure to attend the meeting.

2. Not only did he find the solution to the problem but also helped his friends understand it as well.

3. Both Rani and Ashwathy attended UPSC classes.

4. She’d rather watch a movie than watch a series.

5. Ranjith did not know whether he should take psychology or sociology as the allied paper.

Frequently Asked Questions on Correlative Conjunctions in English

What is a correlative conjunction?

Correlative conjunctions are conjunctions meant to be used in pairs, and they correlate in order to make connections and provide equal importance to the points that are discussed in a sentence.

What is the definition of a correlative conjunction?

According to the Collins Dictionary, correlative conjunctions are “made up of two or more words working together as a pair, to link two similar items.” A correlative conjunction is defined as words that are “used to describe two or more things that are related to each other”, according to the Cambridge Dictionary. “Two words that are correlative are often used together but not usually used next to each other. For example, ‘either’ and ‘or’ are correlative conjunctions”, says the Macmillan Dictionary.

Give some examples of correlative conjunctions.

Given below are some examples of correlative conjunctions:

  • Either…or
  • Neither…nor
  • Not only…but also
  • Whether…or
  • No sooner…than
  • Rather…than
  • Such…that
  • Scarcely…when
  • As many/much…as
  • Both…and

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