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Correlative conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions are pairs of words that connect ideas: "Either/or", "neither/nor", "both/and", "as/so", and "whether/or" are all examples of correlative conjunction pairs. When you see an "either", it's usually time to use its counterpart, "or".

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Video transcript

- [Voiceover] Hey, grammarians, today we're going to be talking about correlative conjunctions and I know this this looks like pretty ugly word, correlative, like, it's kind of complicated looking but, let's break it down. This co part comes from the Latin, cum, meaning with or, together... And relative, well, we know that the word relative is, like, your aunt or, your uncle or, your cousin is a relative. So, we're just going to say, that just means relative or, related. So, correlative conjunctions, there we see it, definitionally or, etymologically, are related together in some way. They're matched pairs; they're a matching set. And this just means that, when you see one, it's probably time to use the other. In this video, we'll go through five of my favorites. So, either/or, is a good pair to start off with. And when you start a sentence with either or, either, I don't know how you say it. It sets up the expectation that you're going to have to be choosing between two things, so, we're going to say, or, later in the sentence, as in, what is reputed to be Oscar Wilde's last words, either the wallpaper goes, or I do. The opposite of either/or is neither/nor. So, either/or sets up this choice between two options and neither/nor rejects both options, so, neither Jia nor Becca liked Howard. And I recognize that I say neither and some of you say neither and there's a whole George Gershwin song about that but, let's just chalk it up to my Midwestern American accent, how 'bout? ♫ Either, either, neither, neither ♫ Let's learn about some conjunctions ♫ But oh, if we talk about the both and you use and, and oh, ♫ If you learn to use conjunctions, that is grand, oh yes ♫ Both Bigby and LaDoux were career criminals. Why we're using both to indicate a connection between two things and then we use and later in the sentence to really firm that up. As/so, is kind of an interesting one. It's a little formal and it kind of allows you to set up this relationship of consequence, right, to say, if one thing is happening then, another thing happens as a consequence, so... As goes Kansas, so goes the nation. So, you know, as one thing happens, so must another thing happen, is what this is trying to set up. Whether and or, is similar to either and or, except it has a, kind of, whiff of possibility about it. Whether you like shrimp or chocolate, there's certain to be something for you at the Veracruz food fair. Right, because whether is, kind of, setting up this possibility between these two options and it doesn't really matter which one you choose. It's just offering up possibilities. And I would like to offer you the possibility of checking out more of these correlative conjunctions in our exercises. So, stick around; you can learn anything. David out.