Correlative Conjunctions English Grade 5 | Orchids International School
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Conjunctions

Concept:Correlative Conjunctions

Definition:

A correlative conjunction functions as a pair of conjunctions, with both words working together to balance or connect parts of a sentence. Words like ‘either/or’ or ‘neither/nor’, ‘both/and’, ‘but/only’ are few examples of correlative conjunctions.

Uses of Correlative Conjunctions

  1. Correlative conjunctions link various parts of speech to form complex sentences.
  2. Correlative conjunctions are used to show choices or options.
  3. Examples:

    1. I’m thinking to visit either Shillong or Sikkim for a vacation.
    2. She would rather practise music than watch a movie.
  4. The conjunction ‘as’ is used twice in the sentence to make a comparison. The first ‘as’ is usually followed by a noun and then it is followed by ‘as’ again.
  5. Examples:

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  6. Correlative conjunctions connect parts of speech of equal importance.
  7. Example:

    Reeta likes both dancing and singing.

    These conjunctions help to compare, contrast and even connect two concepts.

List of Correlative Conjunctions and its Usage

Let us have a look at the common correlative conjunctions and how they are used in a sentence.

Correlative Conjunction Pairs Examples
a) rather…than I would rather travel by bus than travel by taxi.
b) either…or Either you take this green dress or the pink saree.
c) hardly…when or scarcely…when Hardly had Nisha begun to feel uneasy when the doctor was called.
d) Just as / so Just as I was scared of it, so was he.
e) rather / or Would you rather watch a movie or walk in the park.
f) as…many as You do not have as many pens as I have.
g) both…and Today we can both watch a movie and a restaurant.
h) no sooner…than No sooner had he finished one task, than he started the next.
i) neither…nor I neither know driving nor am I interested to learn it.
j) if / then If she likes to eat prawns, then she could easily order that.
k) not only / but also The vehicle is not only economical but also feels comfortable to drive.
l) whether / or It is doubtful whether he will attend the function or not.
m) such…that The circumstances were such that we had to move out.

Common Mistakes

  1. In sentences that use correlative conjunction, the same part of speech should go after each pair of the conjunction. For example, if you use a noun is used after ‘neither’, then you have to use a noun after ‘nor’ too. If an adjective is used after neither, then an adjective has to be used after ‘nor’.
  2. If a pronoun is used after neither, then a pronoun must be used after nor.

    Examples:

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    Neither Shamita is hardworking nor ambitious.

  3. Either / or is used in a sentence in the positive sense when denoting a choice between two possibilities.
  4. Examples:

    We can either go now or after lunch.

    Either my parents or I attended the function.

  5. Neither / nor is used in a sentence in the negative sense or when two or more things are false.
  6. Examples:

    Neither my parents nor I attended the function.

    We can neither go now nor after lunch.

  7. When correlative conjunctions are being used, they do not require a comma.
  8. Example:

    Either the pink top or the red shirt will look good with white pants.

    Either the pink top, or the red shirt will look good with white pants.

  9. Double negative words should not be used while using neither/nor.
  10. Example:

    She didn’t find neither the phone nor the charger.

    The above sentence is a double negative because ‘didn't’ is a negative term and the correlative conjunction pair ‘neither/nor’, also means negative.

  11. Pair the proper preposition when using a correlative conjunction.
  12. Example:

    The cupboard was made not only for storing clothes but also for storing important documents.

    The cupboard was made not only for storing clothes but also storing important documents.

Exceptions

  1. There are certain exceptions to the rule regarding no commas between correlative conjunctions.
  2. A comma can be used if it serves another grammar rule in the sentence.

    Example:

    Neither this cotton saree, which was comfortable, nor the elegant silk saree, interested the woman.

    Note that the correlative conjunction pair ‘neither . . . nor’ is divided by the two commas to balance the phrase ‘which was comfortable.’

  3. Commas may also separate correlative conjunction pairs when a coordinating conjunction is used between two independent sentences. This is done with the correlative conjunction pairs ‘not only . . . but also.’
  4. Example:

    Not only did Aakash need money, but he also needed a house to stay.

    Note that when part of a correlative conjunction pair is also coordinating conjunction, a comma is used before it. The word ‘but’ is a coordinating conjunction. Hence a comma can be used.

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