ESL Lesson Plan for 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?

Follow up with a paired conjunction quiz.