Posted by: episystechpubs | April 10, 2013

Editor’s Corner: Rule 2 – Avoid Bad Parallelism

Good afternoon!

Today we have the second rule from the article “7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to,” by Ben Yagoda. He titles the rule “Bad Parallelism,” which doesn’t seem like a rule you’d want to follow. So instead, I am renaming this rule and using examples from the Purdue OWL website. (The examples are from a paper written by Dr. Linda Bergmann and Allen Brizee.)

Rule 2: Avoid Bad Parallelism

1. Merriam-Webster defines parallelism as follows: “The use of successive verbal constructions in poetry or prose that correspond in grammatical structure, sound, meter, meaning, etc.”

2.

3. To simplify parallelism: the words, phrases, clauses, and lists follow the same pattern.

From the Purdue OWL:

Words and Phrases

Remain consistent, or parallel, in your words and phrases. A common mistake is mixing patterns

with the –ing form (gerund) of words:

Not parallel: The construction manager established a protocol that includes

reviewing plans every morning, asking questions at stated intervals, and the

summarization of work at the end of the day.

Parallel: The construction manager established a protocol that includes reviewing

plans every morning, asking questions at stated intervals, and summarizing work

at the end of the day.

Another common mistake is mixing patterns of infinitive phrases:

Not parallel: A daily protocol was established to review plans, to field questions,

and summarize work.

Parallel: A daily protocol was established to review plans, to field questions, and

to summarize work.

Forms

Mixing forms is another common misstep:

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.

Clauses

A parallel structure that begins with clauses must continue using clauses.

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.

Lists

Be sure to keep all the elements in a list in the same form.

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.

Kara Church

Senior Technical Editor

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

www.symitar.com

Kara Church

Senior Technical Editor

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

www.symitar.com

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