Parallel structures are defined as using the same pattern of words in order to reflect two or more ideas having the same level of importance. Parallel structure can take place at word, phrase or even at the clause level. The most common way to join parallel structure is to use coordinating conjunctions such as and, or many more. Thus it can be stated that parallel structures are the repetition of the chosen grammatical form within a sentence. It is formed by making each item or idea compared with the other by creating word patterns that can be easily followed by readers. In parallel structure words and phrases should not only match in the structure but also in case of tense. Writers often use parallel structures to bring in clarity within their writing and to make them easily understand. It also adds value to the overall composition of writers while showing that the writing is structurally and grammatically correct.
Proper use of parallel structure:
The parallel structure can be used with a variety of structures including infinitive words, clauses and lists. Parallel structures should be used while connecting clauses with conjunctions such as for, nor, or, but, so, yet and many more. Some of the examples of parallel structure include-
Example 1: Correct: Every morning we make our bed, eat breakfast and feed the dog.
Incorrect: Every morning, we make our bed, eating breakfast and feed the dog.
In addition to coordinating conjunctions parallel structure can also be used with the correlative conjunctions such as either…or, neither…nor, not only….but also.
Some of the examples of its use are as follows:
Example 2: Correct: They argued not only about the article, but also about the review.
Incorrect: They argued not only about the article, but they argued also about the review.
Example 3: Correct: Either she likes to see him or she doesn't like to see him.
Incorrect: Either she likes to see him or doesn't like seeing him.
Parallel structures should be used along with infinitives. Some of the examples of parallel structure in use with infinitives are as follows:
Example 4: Correct: Ashley likes to ski, to swim and to jump rope.
Incorrect: Ashley likes to ski, to swim and jump ropes.
Example 5: Correct: She likes to dance and to sing songs.
Incorrect: She likes dancing and to sing songs.
Parallel structure can also be used along with words ending with –ing. Some of the exampls are as follows:
Example 6: Correct: Joe likes running, walking and being active.
Incorrect: Joe likes running, walking and outdoor activities.
Example 7: Correct: We enjoy relaxing and sitting out in the sun.
Incorrect: We enjoy relaxing and like to sit out in the sun.
While writing clauses, parallel structure can also be used.
Example 8: Correct: The teacher told them that they need to study and that they should practice their words every night.
Incorrect: The teacher told them to study and that they should practice their words every night.
Example 9: Correct: My parents said get a good education and do not settle for less.
Incorrect: My parents said to get a good education and not settle for less.
Some more example of parallel structure is as follows:
Example 10: Correct: Mary wanted to make sure that she made her presentation creatively, effectively and persuasively.
Incorrect: Mary wanted to make sure she made her presentation creatively, effectively and persuaded others.
Example 11: Correct: Tim was considered to be a good employee because he was always on time, he was very motivated and he was a good leader.
Incorrect: Tim was considered to be a good employee because he was always on time, he was very motivated and led the team well.
Example 12: Correct: The following activities can be done at the mall: buying groceries, eating lunch, and paying bills.
Incorrect: The following activities can be done at the mall: buying groceries, eating lunch and bill payment.
Example 13: Correct: In your bedroom, you will find the following: a bed, a closet, and a desk.
Incorrect: In your bedroom, you will find the following: a bed, a closet and, sitting at a desk.
Example 14: Correct: Dogs are great pets for the following reasons: they are loyal, they are loving, and they are obedient.
Incorrect: Dogs are great pets for the following reasons: they are loyal, they are loving, and because of their obedience.
Example 15: Correct: People who get ahead do lots of different things such as: studying, working hard, and going to college.
Incorrect: People who get ahead do lots of different things such as: studying, working hard, and attend college.
While combining elements in sentences, often fault occurs. Here are some examples of this type of errors:
1.“ She is bright, creative, and has much to share.”
This sentence, in which the predicate includes two adjectives following a verb, then a conjunction and a verb phrase, is out of balance. The subject is credited with three attributes, and they must share one verb, or each must have its own verb. The sentence initially appears to follow the former rule, but then another verb appears. The only way to maintain this structure is to combine bright and creative into a single item: “She is bright and creative and has much to share.”
Alternatively, creative could be assigned its own verb, but it — and the final phrase — would require a proprietary repetition of the pronoun as well: “She is bright, she is creative, and she has much to share.”
2. “His positive energy and willingness to work hard on every assignment is key to his success.”
When two nouns separated by a conjunction follow an adjective, the adjective generally applies to both nouns, but here, positive applies only to energy, so the pronoun must be repeated before willingness to clarify that “positive willingness” is not implied: “His positive energy and his willingness to work hard on every assignment is key to his success.”
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