You know what a conjunction is, you’ve mastered coordinating conjunctions, and you’re pretty sure you understand subordinating conjunctions; there’s only one more hurdle now between you and total conjunction domination: correlative conjunctions. Well fear not, Grammar Conquistador. You are about to be victorious.
Correlative conjunctions are sort of like tag-team conjunctions. They come in pairs, and you have to use both of them in different places in a sentence to make them work. They get their name from the fact that they work together (co-) and relate one sentence element to another. Correlative conjunctions include pairs like “both/and,” “whether/or,” “either/or,” “neither/nor,” “not/but” and “not only/but also.”
Here are some more pairs of correlative conjunctions:
Correlative conjunctions are more similar to coordinating conjunctions than to subordinating conjunctions in that the sentence fragments they connect are fairly equal. Subordinating conjunctions connect independent and dependent clauses, which have totally different functions. Coordinating conjunctions and correlative conjunctions, on the other hand, connect words and phrases that carry equal weight in the sentence.
For example, “both/and” connects either two subjects or two objects:
“As/as” compares nouns using an adjective or an adverb:
“Not only/but also” can connect nouns or entire clauses:
Congratulations! You now know everything there is to know about correlative conjunctions. You are now ready to take on the world!
Need to review the other types of conjunctions?