Module 8, Conjunctions and Interjections, Lesson 2:

Correlative Conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions work in pairs to join words, phrases, or clauses. The correlative conjunctions are either...or, neither...nor, both...and, not only...but also, whether...or.
Joining words: My uncle is not only a doctor but also a pharmacist.
Joining phrases: All of these clothes are either too small or worn out.
Joining clauses: Either Monica will bring drinks, or she will bring brownies.

Correlative conjunctions are stronger than coordinating conjunctions and emphasize the relationship between the ideas being joined. Notice the difference in the following sentences:

Cats and dogs make good pets.
Both cats and dogs make good pets.

Ron or Davie found my bicycle.
Either Ron or Davie found my bicycle.

Note: Not only...but also can be split apart. Even the second half can be split. Not only cannot be split.

I like not only ice skating but also hockey. Not only is he a great singer, but he is also an actor.

Note: Be careful of the placement of the parts of the conjunction.

Confusing: Either you must bring in your permission slip or stay home. (The reader is left hanging waiting for the second clause.)
Better: You must either bring in your permission slip or stay home. (You must do one of these two actions.)
Also better: Either you must bring in your permission slip, or you must stay home.

Confusing: It was not only a long movie but also exciting.
Better: The movie was not only long but also exciting.
Better: It was not only a long movie but also an exciting one.

As you learned in the modifiers unit, watch where you put only.

Confusing: Jeremy not only won a trophy but also money.
Better: Jeremy won not only a trophy but also money.

Practice What You've Learned

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Click on the correlative conjunctions in the sentences. Make sure to click on all the parts.
I want to be either a movie star or a professional singer when I grow up.
That salmon was neither fresh nor cooked properly.
I have met both him and his twin brother.
Not only are these vegetables good for you, but they are also quite tasty.
Whether we go tonight or wait until tomorrow, we will get there before it snows.
That brittle is available in both peanut and pecan versions.
I hope your brother is not only here on time but also dressed appropriately.
I hope I get either a new laptop or a tablet computer for my birthday.
I am not sure whether to laugh or cry about the disaster the toddlers made in the kitchen.
I am sure neither Steffi nor Erika has lost her tennis racket.