CHAPTER 19-4
Parallel structure assignment
Parallel structure means stating ideas in a grammatically parallel form: lining up noun with noun, verb
with verb and phrase with phrase in a unified manner. Using parallel structure can lend clarity,
elegance, rhythm, unity and symmetry to what you write. It sounds better to the ear and looks better to
the eye. For example: “I came; I saw; I conquered” (Julius Caesar).
Lack of parallel structure occurs when two parts of a sentence are inconsistent. They may be
inconsistent in terms of
 voice (mixing active and passive voice in a sentence)
 tense (mixing present, past and future tenses)
 person (mixing singular with plural or first person with second or third person)
 parts of speech (improperly mixing nouns, adjectives and verbs in a series)
Parallel structure may be used to introduce complementary, contrasting or sequential ideas:
1. Complementary relationship: both… and; not only… but also. Example:
Both the lectures you heard in class and the assignments you read at home will be covered on the final.
2. Contrasting relationship: either… or; neither… nor. Example:
Either the university creates more parking spaces or the students revolt, the editorial warned.
3. Sequential relationship: first… second… third. Example:
First, turn down your thermostat; second, insulate your water heater; third, weatherstrip your windows.
Assignment
Underline the two inconsistent elements (nouns, verbs or phrases) in each sentence and rewrite it using
parallel structure.
Example: McGwire hit the ball deep to left field, but the ball was caught by the left fielder.
Better: McGwire hit the ball deep to left field, but the left-fielder caught it.
1. Playing hockey is fun, but to play soccer is less dangerous.
Rewrite:
2. You should always drive defensively because one never knows what other drivers will do.
Rewrite:
3. Mary is well-educated and of moderate intelligence.
Rewrite:
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4. The solution to workplace crime may be making new stringent rules and strict enforcement of old
rules.
Rewrite:
5. Smith declared his eligibility for the office and that he would win if nominated.
Rewrite:
6. She became CEO in May of last year, and the business was expanded by her enormously.
Rewrite:
7. Type the sentence first, and then you should read it carefully.
Rewrite:
8. The building was tall, round and had 20 stories.
Rewrite:
9. To help the company expand and earning higher profits were her two main objectives.
Rewrite:
10. He eats healthy food, and he exercised daily.
Rewrite:
11. Each writer was told clearly that we must write with parallel structure.
Rewrite:
12. To work may be rewarding, but playing is more fun.
Rewrite:
13. When we go to Chicago, let’s go to the Art Institute, Field Museum and to the Navy Pier.
Rewrite:
14. She slammed the door, leaving everyone inside breathless.
Rewrite:
15. The part was often played well by her, but she never liked it.
Rewrite:
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16. The boy who rode the bicycle and the girl in the pink dress was not to be seen anywhere.
Rewrite:
17. The lecture was long, a bore and uninspiring.
Rewrite:
18. Journalism courses are offered in spring, summer and in the fall.
Rewrite:
19. Freelance writers don’t get steady paychecks, but one has the advantage of freedom and flexible
time.
Rewrite:
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Parallel structure assignment