Correlative Conjunctions

Some conjunctions are used in pairs. They are called correlative conjunctions. Most of these are of the coordinating type.

Either … or

  • You must either follow my instructions or resign.
  • He is either a fool or a madman.
  • Either you or he will have to go.
  • Either you will leave this house or I will call the police.
  • I donít speak either French or German.

We use either…. or to talk about a choice between two possibilities (and sometimes more than two).

  • If you want ice-cream you can have either chocolate, vanilla or strawberry.

Neither … nor

  • I will neither follow your instructions nor resign.
  • He is neither a fool nor a madman.
  • neither smoke nor drink.

We use neither … nor to join two negative ideas. It is the opposite of both … and. Sometimes more than two ideas are connected by neither … nor.

  • He neither smiled, spoke, nor looked at me.

Not only … but also

  • They not only looted the shop, but also set fire to it.
  • Not only John, but Peter also got a prize.
  • He visited not only France but also Germany.
  • She not only plays the piano, but also the violin.

Also is often omitted.

  • He was not only brave but prudent.

Note that in informal English not onlyÖbut also is not very common; other structures are generally preferred.

  • She doesnít only play the piano. She plays the violin too.

Not … but

  • The culprit was not John but Peter.
  • He did not stop the car but drove on.
  • It is not the best but reasonably good.

Whether … or

  • I donít know whether I should stay or leave.
  • Whether he comes or not makes no difference.

Both … and

  • She is both clever and pretty.
  • He is both scholarly and cultured.
  • Both John and Peter spoke at the meeting.

As/so … as

  • He is not as/so bad as many think.
  • She is not as/so successful as her sister.
  • The situation is not as/so difficult as people make out.

So … that

  • The task is so difficult that one man alone canít do it.
  • The officer was so inefficient that he had to be sacked.

Such … that

  • I have such regard for him that I will do anything to please him.
  • Such was her beauty that princes from far and near came to woo her.

Such … as

  • I gave him such help as I could.
  • You must give such an assurance as will satisfy people.
  • Such valuables as she left were sold at an auction.

Note that it is wrong to use that instead of as in these sentence

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