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Focus on Paired Conjunctions


Paired conjunctions are often used in both spoken and written English to make a point, give an explanation, or discuss alternatives. Unfortunately, not only are they difficult to use, but their structure is also rather strict! For this reason, this lesson is a straight forward, teacher centered, grammar lesson focusing on written and oral production of the target structure.

Aim: Grammar focus on the use of paired conjunctions

Activity: Teacher introduction followed by sentence completion, construction and, finally, oral drill work

Level: Upper-intermediate


  • Introduce paired conjunctions by asking students to give reasons for some simple event. Take two of the suggestions and construct target structure sentences using paired conjunctions. For example: Either John has stayed at home or he has been held up in traffic.
  • Explain the structure of the paired conjunctions: both...and; not only...but also; either...or; neither...nor
  • Distribute worksheets and ask students to match the sentence parts to match both columns to make complete sentences.
  • Ask students to complete the second exercise by combining the ideas to make one complete sentence using one of the paired conjunctions.
  • Focus on oral production skills by asking paired conjunction questions on the separate teacher sheet.
Paired Conjunctions

Match the sentence halves to make a complete sentence. Sentence Half A

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

Sentence Half B

but we 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.

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. Small pox is a dangerous illness.
  • Fred loves traveling. Jane wants to go around the world.
  • It might rain tomorrow. It might snow tomorrow.
  • Playing tennis is good for your heart. Jogging is good for your health.

To the teacher: Read the following aloud and have students use paired conjunctions to respond. Example: You know Peter. Do you know Bill? Student: I know both Peter and Jack.

  • You like tennis. Do you like golf?
  • You don't know Jane. Do you know Jack?
  • You are studying Math. Are you studying English?
  • You need to work on the weekend. Do you need to work in the evening?
  • You don't eat fish. Do you eat beef?
  • I know your country has good universities. Does England have good universities?
  • He collects money. Does he collect stamps?
  • They haven't visited Rome. Have they visited Paris?

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