What is Correlative Conjunction? Definition and Examples

Correlative conjunctions are an essential part of English grammar. They connect two parts of a sentence, and they always come in pairs. Correlative conjunctions are similar to coordinating conjunctions, but they connect elements that are equal in importance. In this article, we will define what correlative conjunctions are, give examples of their usage, and explain how they differ from other types of conjunctions.

What is a Correlative Conjunction?

A correlative conjunction is a pair of conjunctions that are used to connect two sentence elements of equal importance. They always appear in pairs, and they must be used together. Some of the most common correlative conjunctions include:

  • Either…or
  • Neither…nor
  • Not only…but also
  • Both…and
  • Whether…or

What is Correlative Conjunction Definition and Examples

Examples of Correlative Conjunctions:

  1. Either…or:

  • Either you come with me to the party or you stay at home.
  • You can either have ice cream or cake for dessert.
  1. Neither…nor:

  • Neither John nor Susan can come to the meeting.
  • She neither drinks tea nor coffee.
  1. Not only…but also:

  • She is not only beautiful but also intelligent.
  • He not only plays football but also basketball.
  1. Both…and:

  • Both Tom and Jerry are funny.
  • The car is both fast and reliable.
  1. Whether…or:

  • I don’t know whether to study or to work.
  • Whether you like it or not, we have to go.

How to Use Correlative Conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions must be used in pairs and connect elements that are equal in importance. Here are some tips on how to use them correctly:

  • Use either…or to present two options that are exclusive.
  • Use neither…nor to present two negative options that are both false.
  • Use not only…but also to present two elements that are equally important.
  • Use both…and to present two positive elements that are equal in importance.
  • Use whether…or to present two options when you are unsure which is true.


  1. What is the difference between a correlative conjunction and a coordinating conjunction?
  • A correlative conjunction always comes in pairs, while a coordinating conjunction can stand alone. Also, a correlative conjunction connects elements of equal importance, while a coordinating conjunction can connect elements of unequal importance.
  1. How can I remember the different correlative conjunctions?
  • One way to remember the different correlative conjunctions is to memorize the pairs. For example, either…or and neither…nor are similar in structure and are used to present two exclusive options.


In conclusion, correlative conjunctions are a crucial part of English grammar. They connect sentence elements that are equal in importance, and they always come in pairs. By using correlative conjunctions correctly, you can make your sentences more precise and effective. Hopefully, this article has helped you to understand what correlative conjunctions are, how to use them, and the different types that exist. Keep practicing and incorporating correlative conjunctions into your writing, and you will soon master this essential aspect of English grammar.