Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Parallel Construction

Sentences and lists are awkward when they contain a series of items with inconsistent grammatical structure. But as your reader scans through a series of items with parallel grammatical structure, the relationships between different items of information become clear. Here’s an example:

Which of the two sentences below is easier to follow?

At the February meeting we will hold a discussion of the new health plan, whether to revise the procedures manual, and then a draft will be developed of the early retirement policy.

At the February meeting, we will discuss the new health plan, decide whether to revise the procedures manual, and draft an early retirement policy.

In the second example, the parallel verb tenses saved space and helped us grasp the ideas immediately. To help your writing flow smoothly and make sense, use the same format for items you present in a series.



Source: Grammarbook


  1. Crystal - Thanks for this reminder. The more we pay attention to things like parallel constructions, the easier time readers have with our writing, so the easier it is to make our points.

  2. Thank you for this lesson in clarity!! Thank you too for the sparkly cat!! Wonderful! Take care

  3. Just shared your site with some of my writing students. Excellent site. And I will pass it along to others.

  4. Margot, Old Kitty, and Alex: Thank you! As always, your comments are very much appreciated!

    Debra: Wonderful! Your comment has made my day! It means so much that you think enough of my blog to share it with others! ♥

  5. Popped in from Facebook's blog network. I am a writer. I dislike about writing critique groups is the lack of grammar skills. I keep a few grammar books handy and have a few sites bookmarked as well.



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