Conjunction Words: How to Use Both and – Either or – Neither nor in Sentences

Are you struggling to use conjunction words like “both and”, “either or”, and “neither nor” in your English sentences? You’re not alone! These words can be tricky to use correctly, but they are essential for expressing ideas clearly and accurately in English. In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about using these conjunction words in your sentences.

Conjunction Words

In English, conjunction words are used to join words, phrases, and clauses together to form a sentence. Some of the most commonly used conjunction words are Both and, Either or, and Neither nor. In this article, we will explore how to use these conjunction words in sentences.

Conjunction Words

Both and is a conjunction word that is used to connect two ideas that are both true. For example, “Both my sister and I like to sing.” In this sentence, both the speaker and their sister like to sing. The word “both” is used to emphasize that both ideas are true.

Either or is a conjunction word that is used to present two options. For example, “You can either have pizza or pasta for dinner.” In this sentence, the speaker is presenting two options for dinner. The word “either” is used to indicate that the listener can choose one of the two options.

Neither nor is a conjunction word that is used to indicate that neither of two things is true. For example, “Neither my sister nor I like to dance.” In this sentence, neither the speaker nor their sister like to dance. The word “neither” is used to indicate that neither idea is true.

It is important to note that when using these conjunction words, the verb must agree with the subject. For example, “Both my sister and I am happy” is incorrect because the subject is plural and the verb is singular. The correct sentence would be “Both my sister and I are happy.”

Both And

When we use the conjunction ‘both’ with ‘and,’ we connect two positive things that are similar in length and grammatical structure. This pairing is useful when we want to show that two things are true at the same time.

Here are some examples of how to use ‘both’ and ‘and’ in sentences:

  • We both like pizza and pasta.
  • Both the cat and the dog are sleeping on the couch.
  • The movie was both exciting and scary.
  • She is both a doctor and a writer.
  • Both the teacher and the students were happy with the test results.

As you can see, ‘both’ and ‘and’ are used to connect similar elements in a sentence. They can connect nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, prepositional phrases, and other words.

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It’s important to remember that ‘both’ and ‘and’ should only be used when connecting two positive things. If one of the things is negative, we use ‘not only’ before ‘both’ and ‘but also’ after ‘and.’ For example:

  • Not only did he study hard, but also he got an A on the test.

Either Or

When we want to present two options or choices, we can use the conjunction “either…or“. This conjunction is used to connect two options that are both possible, but only one can be chosen.

For example, “Either you can come to the party tonight or we can go to the movies.” This sentence presents two options and the listener can choose one of them.

Here are some more examples of how to use “either…or” in sentences:

  • Either you can study for the exam or you can go to the concert.
  • We can either go to the beach or go hiking in the mountains.
  • You can either eat pizza or pasta for dinner.
  • Either you can take the train or the bus to get to the city.

It’s important to note that “either…or” can only be used when we are presenting two options. If we want to present more than two options, we need to use a different conjunction.

Additionally, “either…or” can sometimes be used to present negative options, such as “You can either not do your homework or fail the class.” However, this usage can sound harsh or negative, so it’s important to use it carefully.

Neither Nor

When we want to express that two negative options are not true, we can use the conjunctions ‘neither…nor‘. These conjunctions are used to connect two negative ideas in a sentence.

For example, “Neither the cat nor the dog ate their food” or “I don’t like neither coffee nor tea”. In both cases, we are expressing that two negative options are not true.

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Let’s take a look at some more examples of how to use ‘neither’ and ‘nor’ in sentences:

  • Neither my brother nor my sister likes to eat vegetables.
  • I don’t like neither the blue shirt nor the green one.
  • Neither the teacher nor the students understood the assignment.
  • I don’t want to go neither to the beach nor to the mountains.

In all of these examples, we are using ‘neither’ and ‘nor’ to express that two negative options are not true. It is important to note that ‘neither’ should be used with ‘nor’ and ‘either’ should be used with ‘or’.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Mistake 1: Using “and” instead of “both”

Sometimes, people use “and” instead of “both”. For example, they might say “I like playing football and basketball” instead of “I like playing both football and basketball”. This mistake can make the sentence confusing or unclear. To avoid this mistake, remember that “both” is used to refer to two things or people together.

Mistake 2: Using “or” instead of “either or”

Another common mistake is using “or” instead of “either or”. For example, they might say “I can eat pizza or pasta for dinner” instead of “I can eat either pizza or pasta for dinner”. This mistake can change the meaning of the sentence. To avoid this mistake, remember that “either or” is used to present two options.

Mistake 3: Using “or” instead of “neither nor”

People also make the mistake of using “or” instead of “neither nor”. For example, they might say “I like neither pizza or pasta” instead of “I like neither pizza nor pasta”. This mistake can also change the meaning of the sentence. To avoid this mistake, remember that “neither nor” is used to express negative ideas.

Mistake 4: Using “and” instead of “neither nor”

Finally, people might use “and” instead of “neither nor”. For example, they might say “I like both pizza and pasta” instead of “I like neither pizza nor pasta”. This mistake can make the sentence confusing or unclear. To avoid this mistake, remember that “neither nor” is used to express negative ideas.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the meaning of ‘neither nor’ and how do you use it in a sentence?

‘Neither nor’ is a correlative conjunction used to connect two negative alternatives in a sentence. It is used when we want to say that none of the two things mentioned is true or possible. For example, “Neither John nor Mary likes coffee.” In this sentence, we are saying that John doesn’t like coffee and Mary doesn’t like coffee either.

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How do you properly use ‘either or’ in a sentence?

‘Either or’ is a correlative conjunction used to connect two alternatives in a sentence. It is used when we want to say that there are two possible choices or options. For example, “You can either go to the gym or stay at home.” In this sentence, we are saying that there are two options – going to the gym or staying at home.

What are the rules for using ‘both’ and ‘neither nor’ in a sentence?

‘Both’ is used to connect two positive alternatives in a sentence. For example, “Both Tom and Jerry like cheese.” In this sentence, we are saying that Tom likes cheese and Jerry likes cheese too.

‘Neither nor’ is used to connect two negative alternatives in a sentence. For example, “Neither the cat nor the dog likes to take a bath.” In this sentence, we are saying that the cat doesn’t like to take a bath and the dog doesn’t like it either.

What is the difference between ‘either or’ and ‘neither nor’?

‘Either or’ is used to connect two alternatives, one of which must be true. ‘Neither nor’ is used to connect two alternatives, both of which are not true. For example, “Either you come to the party or you stay at home.” In this sentence, we are saying that one of the two options must be true. On the other hand, “Neither the cat nor the dog likes to take a bath.” In this sentence, we are saying that both options are not true.

Can ‘nor’ be used as a conjunction in a sentence? If so, how?

Yes, ‘nor’ can be used as a conjunction in a sentence. It is used with ‘neither’ to connect two negative alternatives. For example, “Neither the cat nor the dog likes to take a bath.” In this sentence, ‘nor’ is used to connect the second negative alternative.

Related terms:

Last Updated on November 7, 2023

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