Common correlative conjunctions

October 9, 2013pdf

Correlative conjunctions are usually coordinating in nature because the sentence fragments they connect tend to be of equal rank. As you know, a coordinating conjunction connects two independent clauses. A subordinating conjunction, on the other hand, connects a dependent clause to an independent clause.

Some correlative conjunctions and their uses are explained below.

Such … that

  • It was such a hot afternoon that we decided to stay indoors. (Here the correlative connects the two clauses: It was a hot afternoon and We decided to stay indoors.)
  • She was such a bad tempered woman that nobody liked her. (Here the correlative connects the two clauses: She was a bad tempered woman and Nobody liked her.)

Scarcely …when

  • I had scarcely closed my eyes when someone knocked on the door.
  • OR Scarcely had I closed my eyes when someone knocked on the door.

As (many/much) … as

  • There are as many saucers as there are cups.
  • You are not as clever as you think you are.
  • His wife is as tall as he is.

No sooner … than

  • She no sooner completed one project than she started working on the next.
  • OR No sooner did she complete one project than she started working on the next.

Students sometimes wrongly use when in this structure. Remember that sooner is a comparative word and hence it should be followed by than, not when.

Rather … than

  • I would rather read a book than watch TV.
  • They would rather starve than surrender.
  • She would rather dance than sing.

The expression rather than is normally used in parallel structures. For example, with two adjectives, two adverbs, nouns, infinitives etc.

  • I would prefer to visit Switzerland rather than Australia.
  • I would prefer to walk rather than drive.
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