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Parallelism: Writing with Parallel Structure WRR # 3 Parallelism defined:

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parallelism defined
Parallelism defined:
  • Parallel structure means using the same pattern of words to show that two or more ideas have the same level of importance. This can happen at the word, phrase, or clause level. The usual way to join parallel structures is with the use of coordinating conjunctions such as "and" or "or."
words and phrases
Words and Phrases
  • With the -ing form (gerund) of words:

Example 1

Not Parallel:Mary likes hiking, swimming, and to ride a bicycle.

words and phrases4
Words and Phrases
  • With the -ing form (gerund) of words:

Parallel: Mary likes hiking, swimming, and bicycling.

words and phrases5
Words and Phrases
  • With infinitive phrases:

Parallel:

Mary likes to hike, to swim, and to ride a bicycle.OR Mary likes to hike, swim, and ride a bicycle.

  • (Note: You can use "to" before all the verbs in a sentence or only before the first one.)
do not mix forms
Do not mix forms.

Example 2

Not Parallel: The production manager was asked to write his report quickly, accurately, and in a detailed manner.

Parallel:The production manager was asked to write his report quickly, accurately, and thoroughly.

do not mix forms7
Do not mix forms.

Example 3

Not Parallel:The teacher said that he was a poor student because he waited until the last minute to study for the exam, (he) completed his lab problems in a careless manner, and his motivation was low.

Parallel:The teacher said that he was a poor student because he waited until the last minute to study for the exam, (he) completed his lab problems in a careless manner, and (he) lacked motivation.

parallel clauses
Parallel Clauses
  • A parallel structure that begins with clauses must keep on with clauses. Changing to another pattern or changing the voice of the verb (from active to passive or vice versa) will break the parallelism.
parallel clauses9
Parallel Clauses

Example 1

Not Parallel:The coach told the players that they should get a lot of sleep, that they should not eat too much, and to do some warm-up exercises before the game.

Parallel:The coach told the players that they should get a lot of sleep, that they should not eat too much, and that they should do some warm-up exercises before the game.

parallel clauses10
Parallel Clauses

— or — Parallel:The coach told the players that they should get a lot of sleep, not eat too much, and do some warm-up exercises before the game.

parallel clauses11
Parallel Clauses

Example 2

Not Parallel:The salesman expected that he would present his product at the meeting, that there would be time for him to show his slide presentation, and that questions would be asked by prospective buyers. (passive)

Parallel:The salesman expected that he would present his product at the meeting, that there would be time for him to show his slide presentation, and that prospective buyers would ask him questions.

lists after a colon be sure to keep all the elements in a list in the same form
Lists After a Colon:Be sure to keep all the elements in a list in the same form

Example 1

  • Not Parallel:The dictionary can be used for these purposes: to find word meanings, pronunciations, correct spellings, and looking up irregular verbs.
  • Parallel:The dictionary can be used for these purposes: to find word meanings, pronunciations, correct spellings, and irregular verbs.
proofreading strategies to try
Proofreading Strategies to Try:
  • Skim your paper, pausing at the words "and" and "or." Check on each side of these words to see whether the items joined are parallel. If not, make them parallel.
proofreading strategies to try14
Proofreading Strategies to Try:
  • Listen to the sound of the items in a list or the items being compared. Do you hear the same kinds of sounds? For example, is there a series of "-ing" words beginning each item? Or do your hear a rhythm being repeated? If something is breaking that rhythm or repetition of sound, check to see if it needs to be made parallel.
proofreading strategies to try15
Proofreading Strategies to Try:
  • If you have several items in a list, put them in a column to see if they are parallel.
your turn
Your Turn
  • I like movies and to listen to popular music.
your turn17
Your Turn
  • I like movies and to listen to popular music.
  • I like movies and popular music.
your turn18
Your Turn
  • For an athlete, playing fairly should be as important as to win.
your turn19
Your Turn
  • For an athlete, playing fairly should be as important as to win.
  • For an athlete, playing fairly should be as important as winning.
your turn20
Your Turn
  • I want either to win the contest or getting at least an honorable mention.
your turn21
Your Turn
  • I want either to win the contest or getting at least an honorable mention.
  • I want either to win the contest or to get at least and honorable mention.
your turn22
Your Turn
  • Dorothy Parker became famous for writing poetry and as a short story writer.
your turn23
Your Turn
  • Dorothy Parker became famous for writing poetry and as a short story writer.
  • Dorothy Parker became famous for writing poetry and short stories.
your turn24
Your Turn
  • I like looking at the apple blossoms and to eat the crisp apples.
your turn25
Your Turn
  • I like looking at the apple blossoms and to eat the crisp apples.
  • I like looking at the apple blossoms and eating the crisp apples.
works cited
Works Cited
  • “The Online Writing Lab”. Purdue University (2007). Phoenix, Arizona. 10/7/2007 http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource.