Correlative conjunctions

Some conjunctions are used in pairs. They are called correlative conjunctions. Note that most correlative conjunctions are of the coordinating type.

Examples are:


Either take it or leave it.
You must either obey my instructions or quit.
Either you or he will have to do it.

I will neither take it nor leave it.
I will neither obey your instructions nor quit.
Neither he nor I will do it.

Not only…but also
They not only looted the shop but also set it on fire.
Not only Alice, but Mary also came.
He visited not only Europe but also America.

Note that also is sometimes omitted.

She was not only beautiful but intelligent. (= She was not only beautiful but also intelligent.)


I don’t know whether I should stay or leave.
Whether he comes or not makes no difference at all.

She is both beautiful and intelligent.
He is both educated and cultured.
Both John and Peter participated in the program.

She was so tired that she could not walk.
The officer was so corrupt that he had to be sacked.


Such was her beauty that men from far and near came to woo her.

No sooner… than

No sooner did the tiger appear than he shot it down.

No sooner had she read the letter than she burst into tears.

Note that it is wrong to use when instead of than in these sentences. It should also be noted that did or had must come immediately after no sooner.