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2. Correlative Conjunctions

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Power Words

The second kind of conjunction is the correlative conjunction, which comes in pairs of words. Here are the most commonly used:

Correlative Conjunctions

either . . . or neither . . . nor not . . . but not only . . . but (also) both . . . and

Powerful writers use these conjunctions all the time. Here’s Mr. Churchill:

But neither King Charles nor the Roundhead executive had the slightest intention of giving way upon the two main points . . . . Winston S. Churchill, A History of the English Speaking Peoples, p. 257 (Dodd, Mead & Co. 1960) (vol. 2).

Here’s Mr. Churchill again:

This was not a butchery, but a ceremony, a sacrifice, or, if we may borrow from the Spanish Inquisition, “an act of faith.” Churchill, p. 279.

And again:

[H]e used arguments not of law but of revolution. Churchill, p. 220.

The trick to using correlative conjunctions lies in two key points:

1. Make sure you follow the rule of parallel construction. 2. Try using these conjunctions to join a wide variety of structures.

In the eBook Developing a Powerful Writing Style, we’ll learn more about parallel structure and the use of correlative conjunctions.


Previous: Conjunctive Adverbs - “However,” etc. Next: 3. Subordinating Conjunctions

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