Parallelism

What’s Parallelism?

Parallelism is the balance between two or more similar words, phrases, or clauses. Parallelism is also called Parallel Structure or Parallel Construction. Parallel construction prevents awkwardness, promotes clarity, and improves writing style and readability.

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INCORRECT: Julie likes playing the piano, the trumpet, and play the guitar.

CORRECT   : Julie likes playing the piano, the ttrumpet, and the guitar.

 

INCORRECT: You can apply the job by filling out this form or apply by email.

CORRECT   : You can apply the job by filling out this form or you can apply by email.

 

Rules of Parallelism

Parallelism is used to balance nouns with nouns, prepositional phrases with prepositional phrases, participles with participles, infinitives with infinitives, clauses with clauses.

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Parallelism is used with elements joined by coordinating conjunctions

INCORRECT: My mother likes cooking and to read.

CORRECT   : My mother likes cooking and reading.

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Parallelism is used with elements in lists or in a series

INCORRECT: This task can be done individually, in pairs, or can be done in groups of four.

CORRECT   : This task can be done individually, in pairs, or in groups of four.

Parallelism is used with elements being compared

INCORRECT: She is mad about watching TV more than to read a book.

CORRECT   : She is mad about watching TV more than reading a book.

Parallelism is used with elements joined by a linking verb or a form of be

INCORRECT: To lean is understanding the world.

CORRECT   : To learn is to understand the world.

Parallelism is used with elements joined by linking words

INCORRECT: The teacher not only wants her students to keep quiet but also to do the task.

CORRECT   : The teacher wants her students not only to keep quiet but also to do the task.

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