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    The Correlator in English Grammar

    The Correlator in English Grammar

    Correlators in English grammar are function words that are the first word or words in pairs of conjunctions that also join or link two or more words, phrases, and clauses. Function words perform definite grammatical functions but lack definite lexical meaning. Only one grammatical form can perform the function of correlator in English. The one grammatical form that can function as the coordinator is the correlating conjunction.

    Correlating Conjunctions as Correlators

    The five correlating conjunctions in English are the first word or words of the following pairs of conjunctions:

    • both … and
    • either … or
    • neither … nor
    • whether … or
    • not only … but also

    The second word or words are coordinating conjunctions. Correlative conjunctions appear only in pairs with coordinating conjunctions.

    Prescriptive grammars require that the linguistic constituents linked by a correlative-coordinating conjunction pairs be of the same grammatical form. For example:

    • He seems both introverted and outgoing. (adjectives)
    • Employees may either eat in the cafeteria or bring a sack lunch. (verb phrases)
    • Neither the rain ceased nor the gloom lifted. (verb clauses)

    However, native English speakers often use correlative-coordinating conjunction pairs to join different grammatical forms. For example, the following sentences contain correlative and coordinating conjunctions that join unequal constituents:

    • He screams both loudly and like a girl. (adverb and prepositional phrase)
    • My new car was neither inexpensive nor on sale. (adjective and prepositional phrase)
    • Either your son crashed your car, or your car was damaged by hail. (active voice and passive voice)

    A correlator is a function word that appears within a pair of conjunctions to join or link two or more words, phrases, and clauses. Only correlating conjunctions function as correlators in English grammar.

    Summary

    Correlators in English grammar are function words that are the first word or words in pairs of conjunctions that also join or link two or more words, phrases, and clauses. Function words perform definite grammatical functions but lack definite lexical meaning.

    Correlator is a grammatical function.

    The grammatical form that can function as the correlator in English grammar is the correlating conjunction.

    Some correlating conjunctions in English are both, either, neither, not only, and whether.

    References

    Brinton, Laurel J. & Donna M. Brinton. 2010. The linguistic structure of Modern English, 2nd edn. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
    Hopper, Paul J. 1999. A short course in grammar. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
    Huddleston, Rodney. 1984. Introduction to the grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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