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Paired conjunctions are often used in both spoken and written English to make a point, give an explanation, or discuss alternatives. The most common paired conjunctions include:
- both… and
- neither… nor
- either… or
- not only… but also
When using these forms with verb conjugation make sure to follow these rules:
- 'Both… and' is used with two subjects and always conjugates using the plural form of the verb.
Both Tom and Peter live in Los Angeles.
- 'Neither… nor' is used with two subjects. The second subject decides whether the verb is conjugated in the plural or singular form.
Neither Tim nor his sisters enjoy watching TV. OR Neither his sister nor Tim enjoys watching TV.
- 'Either… nor' is used with two subjects. The second subject decides whether the verb is conjugated in the plural or singular form.
Either the children or Peter has made a mess in the living room. OR Either Peter or the children have made a mess in the living room.
- 'Not only… but also' inverts the verb after 'not only', but use standard conjugation after 'but also'.
Not only does he like tennis, but he also enjoys golf.
Paired conjunctions can also be used with adjectives and nous. In this case, make sure to use a parallel structure when using paired conjunctions. Parallel structure refers to using the same form for each item.
Pair Conjunction Quiz 1
Match the sentence halves to make a complete sentence.
- Both Peter
- Not only do we want to go
- Either Jack will have to work more hours
- That story was
- Students who do well not only study hard
- In the end, he had to choose
- Sometimes it is
- I would love to take
- but we also have enough money.
- neither true nor realistic.
- not only wise to listen to your parents but also interesting.
- and I are coming next week.
- either his career or his hobby.
- both my laptop and my cell phone on holiday.
- but also use their instincts if they do not know the answer.
- or we will have to hire somebody new.
Pair Conjunction Quiz 2
Combine the following sentences into one sentence using paired conjunctions: both… and; not only… but also; either… or; neither… nor
- We could fly. We could go by train.
- She will have to study hard. She will have to concentrate to do well on the exam.
- Jack is not here. Tom is in another city.
- The speaker will not confirm the story. The speaker will not deny the story.
- Pneumonia is a dangerous disease. Smallpox is a dangerous illness.
- Fred loves traveling. Jane wants to go around the world.
- It might rain tomorrow. It might snow tomorrow.
- Smoking isn't good for your heart. Drinking isn't good for your health.
- Both Peter and I are coming this week.
- Not only do we want to go, but we also have enough money.
- Either Jack will have to work more hours or we will have to hire somebody new.
- That story was neither true nor realistic.
- Students who do well not only study hard but also use their instincts if they do not know the answers.
- In the end, he had to choose either his career or his hobby.
- Sometimes it is not only wise to listen to your parents but also interesting.
- I would love to take both my laptop and my cell phone on holiday.
- Either we could fly or we could go by train.
- Not only will she have to study hard, but she will also have to concentrate to do well on the exam.
- Neither Jack nor Tom is here.
- The speaker will neither confirm nor deny the study.
- Both Pneumonia and Small Pox are dangerous illnesses (diseases).
- Both Fred and Jane love traveling.
- It might both rain and snow tomorrow.
- Neither smoking nor drinking is good for your health.
If you had difficulties understanding this quiz, brush up on your knowledge. Teachers can use this paired conjunction lesson plan to help students learn and practice these forms.