Correlative Conjunctions | Not only But also, Neither nor, Whether or, Rather or…

Correlative Conjunctions in English! Learn not only.. but also.., neither..nor.., whether.. or.., rather.. or.., no sooner.. than.., just as.. so.., both.. and…with examples and ESL printable infographic.

A conjunction is a word which connects two words or clauses or sentences and shows the relation between them. Conjunctions can primarily be broken down into three categories:

This lesson will explain the definition of Correlative Conjunctions, useful list & examples:

Correlative ConjunctionsPin

Correlative Conjunctions Definition

Correlative Conjunctions are simply pairs of conjunctions used in a sentence to join different words or groups of words in a sentence together. Correlative Conjunctions are generally not used to link sentences themselves, instead, they link two or more words of equal importance within the sentence itself.

Correlative Conjunctions List

Some of the more commonly used correlative conjunctions are:

  • Both / and
  • Either / or
  • Just as / so
  • Neither / nor
  • Not only / but also
  • Whether / or
  • Hardly / when
  • If / then
  • Rather / or
  • No sooner…than

Correlative Conjunctions Examples


Both the shoes and the dress were completely overpriced.

  • This is an example of using the correlative conjunctions ‘both/and’ in a sentence. As you can see in this sentence, the ‘shoes’ and the ‘dress’ were equally important elements that needed to be given the same importance.


  • We’ll have both the cheesecake and the chocolate cake.
  • This house is both large and cozy.
  • Both my sister and I are bookworms.


They should either change their strategy or just forfeit the game.

  • The ‘either/or’ conjunctions are used to suggest a choice between two options. Here the choice being suggested is between – ‘change their strategy’ or ‘forfeit the game’.


  • Either John or David must have done this mischief. 
  • Either you will eat your dinner or you will go to bed.


Just as she loves hiking so she enjoys travelling as well.

  • The correlative conjunctions ‘just as/so’ are used to link two phrases that have a similar theme or are referring to a similar thing together. This conjunction is used to show the correspondence between two phrases or words.


  • Just as I love films, so does my brother love sports.
  • Just as French is spoken in France, so is English spoken in England.


He neither helps around the house nor does he look for a job.

  • ‘Neither/nor’ are conjunctions that are used to deny or negate words and phrases. In the case of ‘neither’, it gives two options that are both negated. ‘Nor’ is the negative form of ‘or’.


  • He is neither employed nor looking for a job.
  • Neither Tom nor Anna has passed the test. 


Not only does he play the lead guitar but he is also the band’s songwriter.

  • The correlative conjunctions ‘not only/but also’ are used to show an additional and important element in the sentence that is used to indicate excess when combined with the first element. For instance, in this sentence the fact that he is a guitarist and a song writer are equally important but when shown together, they indicate an excess of talent in the person.


  • Not only do I love this band, but I have also seen them in concert twice.
  • Not only will I see your $20, but also raise you $30.
  • She not only wrote the screenplay for the movie but also acted a role in it. 


It doesn’t matter whether the roses are fresh or if they are drooping, just buy them.

  • ‘Whether/or’ is used as a conjunction to show two different options in the sentence. The conjunction can be used both in a manner of negation and confirmation.


  • I do not know whether my father is arriving by the 8o’clock flight or 9o’clock flight. 
  • You have to take this class, whether or not you want to.
  • I’m going to help you whether you like it or not.


The phrase “no sooner…than” is used to indicate that two events happened simultaneously or in quick succession.


  • No sooner had I left the house than it started to thunder.
  • I’d no sooner lie to you than strangle a puppy.


  • Hardly had the party started when drinks started spilling on the floor.
  • I had hardly sat down for dinner, when the phone rang. 


  • If that is the case, then I’m not surprised about what’s happening.


  • She’d rather play the drums than sing.
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