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Correlative Conjunctions Activities

Instructor: Bethany Calderwood

Bethany has taught special education in grades PK-5 and has a master's degree in special education.

Teaching correlative conjunctions doesn't have to be dry or boring. Try these interactive activities to reinforce your middle or high school students' understanding of correlative conjunctions.

Correlative Conjunctions

Conjunctions may not be the flashiest part of speech to work with, but they are essential to good writing. A polished writer can utilize a variety of conjunction types in order to give writing variety and finesse. Proper use of correlative conjunction pairs - both/and, either/or, neither/nor, whether/or, not only/but also - encourages students to become stronger writers. Use these activities to increase your middle and high school students' comfort with and accurate use of correlative conjunction pairs.

Activity: Describe a Picture

Objective: Correctly use correlative conjunctions.

Materials: A variety of ''busy'' pictures, paper and pencils

  • Preparation: Select a number of ''busy'' pictures - pictures that contain many images. (Some possible sources include children's books like Where's Waldo? or I Spy, calendar pages, posters, etc. Ask your school librarian if you need ideas.)
  • Review the sets of correlative conjunctions and the rules for subject-verb and pronoun agreement.
  • Put students in small groups or pairs. Give each group a picture and a piece of paper.
  • Groups study the picture and write three sentences that describe the picture using correlative conjunction pairs. (The driver is not only driving the truck but also eating a sandwich.)
  • Groups then switch pictures and sentence papers with another group.
  • On their new paper, groups add three sentences describing the picture with correlative conjunction pairs.
  • Challenge: Groups may not repeat a correlative conjunction pair for the same picture until the picture has been described using all five pairs of correlative conjunctions once - both/and, either/or, neither/nor, whether/or, not only/but also.

Activity: Memory Matching

Objective: Appropriately pair correlative conjunctions and use them in sentences.

Materials: Memory matching game (see below)

  • Preparation: Use index cards to create a correlative conjunction matching game. A match consists of one half of a correlative conjunction pair and a noun paired with the other half of the correlative conjunction pair and a different noun. Make five matches for each correlative conjunction pair. For example:
    • not only Fred/but also his sister
    • both the turtle/and the cat
    • neither the dancer/nor the flautist
  • This game can be played with the full class, or you can make multiple copies of the game and it can be played in small groups.
  • Students lay out the index cards in rows.
  • Students take turns turning over two cards looking for a correlative conjunction pair.
  • When a student finds a match, they must make a sentence using their match. (Both the turtle and the cat are out of food, so we need to go to the pet store.)
  • Optional: Students write out their sentences so you can check for accuracy and appropriate sentence structure.

Activity: Conjunction Pairing

Objective: Match correlative conjunction pairs (both/and, either/or, neither/nor, whether/or, not only/but also).

Materials: Small ball, stopwatch (optional)

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