Writing Toolbox: The Correlative Conjunction

Correlative Conjunction with Shurley English.jpg

Having the right tools in your writing toolbox can make all the difference when it comes time to revise a composition.  Do your students need a creative way to link ideas and show association? Then look no further than the correlative conjunction! First, let's look at this simple definition:

Correlative Conjunctions with Shurley English.png

Today, we will focus on connecting two nouns for the purpose of simplification. Remember, the reason for the correlation determines which pair of correlative conjunctions to use. Here are three examples to model for your students that will show them how to associate two ideas in a logical manner.

Either – or  can show choices.

The dog made a mess in the kitchen. The cat made a mess in the kitchen.

Either the dog or the cat made a mess in the kitchen.


Neither – nor  can show the absence of choices.

Maria cannot go to the game tonight. Tammy cannot go to the game tonight.

Neither Maria nor Tammy can go to the game tonight.


Both – and  can show a link between two words or phrases.

Henry will be here soon.  His big brother will be here soon.

Both Henry and his big brother will be here soon.


Don't forget to mention to your students that both sides of their sentence should be parallel in structure when using correlative conjunctions. Any pronouns or verbs used at the end of the sentence should agree with whatever is mentioned last.


As your students grow in their abilities to use correlative conjunctions effectively, they will show an increased level of maturity in their writing. This is a skill that they can take with them into their future college and career adventures!


EXTEND THE LESSON: Why not make this a group activity?!? Here's an idea to get you started.

Group Activity Shurley English.png



Comment /Source

Cindy Goeden

Cindy Goeden has enjoyed being involved with Shurley English for the last sixteen of her twenty-six years in the field of education.  Working with various levels of students in elementary, junior, and high schools, in both the private and public arenas, Cindy surely is thankful for the providential day that she was introduced to Shurley English, which changed forever her approach to Language Arts instruction. That has led to her current job of having the joy of sharing about Shurley with other educators.  Her love of learning has prodded her to earn over two hundred and twenty hours, which includes two bachelor degrees in education.


Cindy currently lives with her husband, Donald, in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she enjoys puttering in her flowers, changing up her décor with the seasons, and occasionally getting out and traveling with Donald to either explore a new beach or view historic sights and gardens.