Parallel Sentence Structure

parallel structure

What is It?

A pattern or list of words with each word having the same importance or having the same form.

-ing Phrases

Examples:

David loves walking, skiing, and skateboarding.

We totally went hiking, bungee jumping, and snowboarding last week.

Non-ing phrases (infinitives)

Examples:

John loves to read, write, and sing.

This dog can jump, dance, and sing.

Messing Up the Forms

a)

Incorrect:

Kate likes painting, jogging, and to sleep.

Correct:

Kate likes painting, jogging, and sleeping.

b)

Incorrect:

I got hired as a professional wrestler and was asked by my director to perform bravely, fiercely, and with prudence.

Correct:

I got hired as a professional wrestler and was asked by my director to perform bravely, fiercely, and prudently.

c)

Incorrect

The President of the U.S. called upon his staff, but he waited for them for an hour, all the while completing a poem.

Correct

The President of the U.S. called upon his staff, waiting for them for an hour, completing a poem in that time.

In Clauses

Clauses are small parts of speech that make a complete sentence or only a section of a complete sentence.

a)

Incorrect

My boss demanded her employees to work harder than before to meet a deadline, to wear better clothes, and finish our last reports.

Correct

My boss demanded her employees to work harder than before to meet a deadline, to wear better clothes, and to finish our last reports.

b)

Incorrect

John thought he could be the greatest chess player in history, yet he would not find time to practice.

Correct

John thought he could be the greatest chess player in history, but he could not find the time to practice.

Colon Lists

After a colon, make sure you keep all the phrases in the same form.

Incorrect

He ate every kind of fruit he saw: bananas, melons, grapefruits, and often he would go for even rare strawberries.

Correct

He ate every kind of fruit he saw: bananas, melons, grapefruits, and rare strawberries.

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