Umm ... what exactly are correlative conjunctions?

Correlative conjunctions connect two equal grammatical items. For example, if a noun follows either, then a noun will also follow or.

Here are some common correlative conjunctions:

  • both ... and
  • not only ... but also
  • either ... or
  • neither ... nor
  • just as ... so
  • at once ... and

These examples illustrate how to maintain parallelism with each of the above correlative conjunctions:

  • Monkey D. Luffy is both loyal (adjective) and courageous (adjective).
  • Peter is a fan of not only One Piece (noun) but also Tokyo Ghoul (noun).
  • Tonight, Henry will either read (verb) manga or watch (verb) anime.
  • Nan likes neither to exercise (infinitive verb) nor to study (infinitive verb).
  • Just as Nami likes money (verb phrase), so Zoro likes swords (verb phrase).
  • At once powerful (adjective) and malicious (adjective), the One-Eyed Owl is a fierce ghoul.

Conversely, here are some examples of how they might be misused. They are all incorrect:

  • Monkey D. Luffy is both loyal (adjective) and he is also courageous (verb phrase).
  • Peter is a fan of not only One Piece (noun) but he is also a fan of Tokyo Ghoul (verb phrase).
  • Tonight, Henry will either read (verb) manga or watching (-ing verb) anime.
  • Nan likes neither to exercise (infinitive verb) nor study (bare infinitive verb).
  • Just as Nami likes money (verb phrase), so swords are liked by Zoro (passive voice).
  • At once powerful (adjective) and being malicious (gerund phrase), the One-Eyed Owl is a fierce ghoul.

Whether you’re writing sentences or trying to answer grammar questions, pay attention to correlative conjunctions. Be sure to maintain parallelism by following the above rule!