Correlative Conjunctions

What Are Correlative Conjunctions? (with Examples)

Correlative conjunctions are used in pairs to link equivalent elements in a sentence.

The most common ones are:

  • either...or
  • neither...nor
  • not only...but also
  • Examples of Correlative Conjunctions

    Here are some examples of correlative conjunctions (shaded): The key learning point in these examples is that correlative conjunctions link equivalent elements.

    When Using Correlative Conjunctions, Keep a Parallel Structure

    When using correlative conjunctions, make sure the elements behind each one are the same type of word (like in the examples above). This is called a parallel structure. Look at these examples:

    Subject-Verb Agreement with Correlative Conjunctions

    When a correlative conjunction links two elements that are the subject of a verb, the verb is singular if both elements are singular. For example: However, things get complicated if one of the elements is plural because there are two conventions:

    Convention 1 The Proximity Rule. Under this convention, the element nearest the verb determines whether it is singular or plural. For example: Convention 2 The Logic Rule. Under this convention, if any of the elements are plural, the verb is plural. For example:

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    See Also

    Advice or advise? List of easily confused words