Conjunctions, as we all know are linking or joining words that are used to connect words, phrases or clauses. We have also learnt that there are three types of conjunctions namely: Coordinating, subordinating and correlative conjunctions.
Where coordinating and subordinating conjunctions can exist as single words, correlative conjunctions are known as paired conjunctions because- you guessed it right- They exist in pairs! Let us understand more about these Tag- team champs!
Paired or Correlative Compound Conjunctions
Correlative conjunctions, as mentioned earlier always exist in pairs, which means that they are always used together. Similar to coordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions link or join phrases, clauses or words that are similar or equal in structure and form.
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Rules to follow with Correlative Conjunctions
While using these conjunction pairs, we must remember to use them according to correct grammar rules.
When using correlative conjunctions, the subject-verb agreement is very important for the sentence to make sense.
- When correlative conjunctions join sentences with two singular subjects, the verb used must also be singular. Example: Neither Ravi nor his brother is coming with us. However, when we use the correlative conjunction pair both..and, we can use a plural verb form.
- When correlative conjunctions join sentences with two plural subjects, the verb used must be a plural one. Example: Neither the students nor the teachers were present at the candlelight march.
- When correlative conjunctions join sentences with one singular and one plural subject, the verb used must agree to the noun or subject it is placed closest to in the sentence. Example: Neither my husband nor my kids like reading books. (The verb ‘like’ is plural and is used because it is closest to the noun ‘kids’ which is also plural)
Pronoun agreement is also important while using correlative conjunctions. The rules with pronouns are very similar to those of subject-verb agreement.
- When correlative conjunctions join sentences with two singular nouns or subjects, the pronoun used must be singular. Example: Neither Reema nor her sister bought her costume.
- When correlative conjunctions join sentences with two plural nouns or subjects, the pronoun used must be plural. Example: Neither the students nor the teachers gave in their consent for the new schedule
- When correlative conjunctions join sentences with one singular and one plural noun or subject, the pronoun must be singular/ plural based on the noun closest to it. Example: Neither Radha nor her friends liked their new piano teacher.
Examples of some Correlative Conjunctions
Let us now look at some correlative conjunctions, where they are used and what they mean.
- Either…Or: This correlative conjunction pair is used to join to positive items or options. Example: We can either eat at home or go to the restaurant nearby.
- Neither…Nor: This pair of correlative conjunction is used to join negative options or items. Example: Neither did her sister nor her best friend showed up at the event.
- Not only…But also: This correlative conjunction pair is similar to using ‘and’. Example: Not only is he a linguist but also a pianist.
- Whether…Or: This correlative conjunction pair is similar to the use of the conjunction ‘if’. It is used only to join clauses. Example: She is unsure about whether she should stay in New York or move to California.
- Both… And: This correlative conjunction pair is used to emphasise the true facts in a given sentence. Example: They have both a swimming pool and a jacuzzi in their backyard.
Few other correlative conjunction pairs are: No sooner…Than, Not…But, Hardly…When. Now that you have understood correlative conjunctions, you are closer to mastering conjunctions with some practice.
Solved Example for You
Q: This salad is _______ delicious _______ healthy.
(a) Both…And (b) Rather…Than
(c) Either…Or (d) Whether…Or
Sol. (a) Both… And
From the given options, the best correlative conjunction pair to fill in the blanks is option a) Both…And.
The other options do not make the sentence correct grammatically and meaningfully and therefore are incorrect answers.