Posted by: episystechpubs | October 20, 2015

Editor’s Corner: Punctuation 911 – Parallelism

Good morning, my sweet grammar lovers.

Here’s a common topic in the editing world: parallelism. I have tried to explain it often, but here it is from Grammar Girl’s book, Punctuation 911: Your Guide to Writing it Right. Let’s see if her explanation helps some of you understand what us editors are talking about when we say, “These bullets are not parallel.”

(D)on’t forget to be a good writer and make sure all of your list items are parallel. That means each list item should be structured the same way. They should all be fragments or they should all be complete sentences. If you start one bullet point with a verb, start every bullet point with a verb. Here’s an example of a list that uses parallel construction:

For Aardvark, a vacation involves

· Attending lectures

· Reading books

· Seeing sights

Each bullet point is formed the same way— each one starts with a verb. On the other hand, even though the following list is grammatically correct, it’s considered poor writing because the list items aren’t parallel.

For Aardvark, a vacation involves

· Attending lectures

· Books

· Many trips to famous destinations

For more information on parallelism, see this Nifty Nugget from last year:

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

Symitar Documentation Services

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