Correlative Conjunction

Definition and Examples

Correlative conjunctions are the conjunctions those work in pair and are used at two different places in the same sentence relating the element of one sentence to the other. Some common examples of correlative conjunctions are – either-or, both-and, whether-or, not-but etc. Go through the sentences written below-

  • I am either going to the movie or to the supermarket.
  • He looked both nervous and exhausted.
  • Whether you are doing the dishes or should I tell Mir to do it.
  • He wanted to stay not at the hotel but in the home.
  • He is doing it not for someone else but for himself.
  • He was greeted both by his wife and son.
  • Either his car broke down or he ran out of fuel.
  • Whether you like it or should I change the menu.

The correlative conjunction pair used in the first example sentence is – either-or. The pair relates two different parts of the sentence- ‘I am going to the movie’ and ‘to the supermarket’. The pair establishes a condition that the speaker is going to the supermarket, if not he is going for the movie. In the second sentence the correlative conjunction pair is – both-and. Here they are used to define the state if a person as narrated by the speaker.

Answers- The correlative conjunction pairs in the above examples are- either-are, both-and, whether-or, not-but, not-but, both-and, either-or and whether-or.


Some frequently used pairs of correlative conjunctions are- not-but, neither-nor, the more-the more, either-or, as-as, no sooner-than, so-that, if-then, whether-or, not only-but also, so-as, just as-so, scarcely-when, hardly-when, rather-than, as many-as, such-as, what with-and, both-and, such- that etc.

Exercises/Worksheets/Activities with MCQs and Answers

Complete the following sentences with appropriate pair of correlative conjunction provided in the choices below them.

  • I would like to have _______ the starter ______ the main course together.
    1. rather-than
    2. both-and
    3. not-but
  • There are ________ cookies ________you may want.
    1. so-that
    2. hardly-when
    3. as many-as
  • ________ you stay in bed ___________ you will feel dizzy.
    1. the more-the more
    2. not only-but also
    3. not-but
  • Reading a good book is _______ good _________ watching a movie.
    1. as-as
    2. just as –so
    3. so-as
  • I think he ___________ likes to party ________ to dine out.
    1. whether-or
    2. neither-nor
    3. such-as
  • He was ____________ the chief guest ___________ an alumni of the college.
    1. no sooner-than
    2. not only-but also
    3. hardly-when
  • He was ________ a gentleman _________ he took him to a doctor.
    1. whether-or
    2. so-as
    3. such-that
  • The teacher had ________ finished ______ the bell rang.
    1. hardly-when
    2. not-but
    3. so-as
  • __________ Indians love Mahatma Gandhi ________ the South Africans love Nelson Mandela.
    1. if-then
    2. just as-so
    3. whether-or
  • He arrived_________ for the meeting _______ the manager.
    1. scarcely-when
    2. rather-than
    3. no sooner-than
  • I would _______ like to have a little cream on coffee ________ no cream at all.
    1. not-but
    2. rather-than
    3. so- that
  • ________ were her hairs _______ as a stream meanders down a hill.
    1. such-as
    2. not-but
    3. so-that
  • He did______ listen _______ agreed to the demands.
    1. as many-as
    2. such-as
    3. not-but
  • I had ________ switched off the lights ________ the dog started barking.
    1. both-and
    2. as-as
    3. scarcely-when
  • _______ he is out of town _______ he is not willing to meet?
    1. both-and
    2. what with-and
    3. whether-or
  • _________ he went with Sally ______ with Peter.
    1. if-then
    2. either-or
    3. so-that
  • _______ the school is closed ______ we will go back home.
    1. if-then
    2. so- that
    3. either-or
  • He was ________ concerned about you _______ he was awake whole night.
    1. such-as
    2. hardly-when
    3. so-that

Answers- 1) b, 2) c, 3) a, 4) a, 5) b, 6) b, 7) c, 8) a, 9) b, 10) c, 11) b, 12) a, 13) c, 14) c, 15) c, 16) b, 17) a, 18) c.

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