Correlative conjunctions as mentioned earlier are paired conjunctions, which means they do not come in singles words. They come in the form of pairs of words: either … or; neither … nor; both … and; not only … but also, and whether … or.

  • You can have either this one or that one.
  • They claimed what they saw were neither humans nor monkeys.
  • Both he and his brother are joint leaders of the street gang.
  • I like the rainbow not only it is colourful but also it curves.
  • I could not decide whether to marry her or her sister.

Either … or / neither … nor

When using either … or or neither … nor, ensure that the verb agrees with the subject closer to it. This means if the two subjects are singular the verb is singular, and the verb is plural if both subjects are plural. But if one subject is singular and the other one is plural, the verb can be singular or plural depending on the subject closer to it.

  • Either John or Johnny plays as goalkeeper in the match.
  • Neither he nor his brother wants to be the goalkeeper.
  • Either the boys or the girls have to perform first.
  • Neither the children nor their parents were late for the performance.
  • Either the manager or the players are blamed for the poor performance.
  • Either the players or the manager is blamed for the poor performance.
  • Neither the players nor the manager is criticized for the loss.
  • Neither the manager nor the players are criticized for the loss.

(For meaning of correlative conjunctions, see List 12 - Conjunctions.)