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|Demystifying Conjunctions: Explaining
By Dinah Crockett
Continuing our three-part series, this issue of Grammatically Correct explores the class of conjunctions known as correlative. Correlative conjunctions form a class of coordinating conjunction that has two parts. For example, the neither/nor combination and the either/or combination are both correlative conjunctions.
Correlative conjunctions join similar elements (words, groups of words, or sentences). An important aspect of using correlative conjunctions is balance. Each word, group of words, or phrase that comes after the correlative conjunction must be grammatically equivalent. For example, noun paired with noun, verb paired with verb, and so on. The sentences below demonstrate this relationship:
Example 1: Simon enjoys both shrimp and lobster.
This correlative conjunction set is effective because the noun shrimp is paired with equivalent noun lobster. Example two shows a more complex example of grammatical equivalency.
Example 2: Dr. Lister is not only responsible for promoting anti-septic use in surgery but also recognized for encouraging Louis Pasteur’s work.
Below is a list of the most common correlative conjunction pairs. A sample sentence is given for each pair.
Up to this point, we have mainly focused on giving examples of correlative conjunctions used in simple sentences. However, certain correlatives may be used to combine two independent clauses into a compound sentence. The correlative pairs either/or, neither/nor, and not only/but also can function in such a way. This technique works best when the first word of the pair (either, not only) is used at the beginning of a sentence. Let us look at a couple of examples:
Example 1: Either Elvis is back from the dead, or he has always lived in Las Vegas.
Example 2: Not only am I a member
of Gamma Beta Phi, but I am also a volunteer at
Finally, let us look at a sentence where the words/phrases are not equal, to provide a clearer idea of what to avoid.
Example 1: My sister is not only gracious but also a lawyer.
In the example above, the adjective gracious is paired with the noun lawyer. Since the two parts of speech are not equivalent, the sentence needs revision. To fix this example, the writer could replace lawyer with another adjective that describes his/her sister.Parallelism, (placing items with the same function in the same grammatical form), is an important consideration when using correlative conjunctions. If you would like to read more about parallelism or simply brush up on the technique, please visit the Student Success Center’s parallelism handout available online at http://www.uhv.edu/ac/grammar/parallelism.asp.
|Recommended Grammar Website of the Week
by Dinah Crockett
In addition to our website, this week we recommend EnglishChick’s grammar lessons page. The English Chick, an American technical writer, provides free grammar lessons about punctuation, confused words/common mistakes, spelling, and remedial grammar. Visit EnglishChick’s grammar webpage at http://www.englishchick.com/grammar/.
|Test Your Knowledge
by Dinah Crockett
Fill in the blanks in the following examples with the appropriate correlative conjunction pairs. In some examples, more than one correlative conjunction may be appropriate.
2. We have decided to purchase
either a Rottweiler or a Chihuaha.
3. Not only has the President dramatically overextended the
budget, but he also raised new conflicts in world diplomacy.
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