Correct use of conjunctions – Part III

August 28, 2010pdf

Scarcely…when

It is wrong to use than instead of when in these sentences:

  • Scarcely had I reached the station than the train steamed out. (Incorrect)
  • Scarcely had I reached the station when the train steamed out. (Correct)

If scarcely begins the sentence it should be immediately followed by had.

  • Scarcely I had reached the station when the train steamed out. (Incorrect)
  • Scarcely had I reached the station when the train steamed out. (Correct)
  • I had scarcely reached the station when the train steamed out. (Correct)

Correlatives

The correlatives either…or, neither…nor, both…and, not only…but also must be placed immediately before the words they relate to.

  • Neither he would eat nor allow us to eat. (Incorrect)
  • He would neither eat nor allow us to eat. (Correct)
  • Neither I shall follow your instructions nor resign. (Incorrect)
  • I shall neither follow your instructions nor resign. (Correct)
  • He not only visited France but also Germany.
  • He visited not only France but also Germany.

Exercise

Fill in the blanks with appropriate conjunctions

1. I would rather be an engineer —————– a doctor.

2. I cannot excuse you —————— you apologize.

3. Neither a lender —————- a borrower be.

4. Work hard —————– you should fail.

5. Clever ——————- he was, he could not solve the problem.

Answers

1. than

2. unless

3. nor

4. lest

5. as

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