Saturday, August 20, 2011

Correlative Conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions come in pairs; here are the most common correlative conjunction pairs:

  • BOTH... AND...
    Both Hathor and Isis are Egyptian goddesses.
  • NOT ONLY... BUT ALSO
    Heracles is not only strong but also sneaky.
  • EITHER... OR...
    Persephone spends her time either in the underworld with her husband Hades or on the earth with her mother Demeter.
  • WHETHER... OR...
    Dasaratha must decide whether to make Rama king or to send him into exile.
  • NEITHER... NOR...
    Neither Achilles nor Hector will survive the Trojan War.

As with coordinating conjunctions, no comma is required EXCEPT when the conjunctions are coordinating two independent clauses. In that case, you do need a comma:

  • Heracles not only killed the Lernean Hydra, but he also killed the Nemean Lion.(Independent clauses: Hercules killed the Lernean Hydra. He killed the Nemean Lion.)
  • Either Achilles is going to kill Hector, or Hector is going to kill Achilles.(Independent clauses: Achilles is going to kill Hector. Hector is going to kill Achilles.)
There are other correlative conjunctions in English, but these are the most common.

Find out more here: CONJUNCTIONS.


Persephone spends her time
either in the underworld with her husband Hades
or on the earth with her mother Demeter.

(image source: Persephone and Hades)

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