Parallel Structure - The House of Ideas

Writing with Concord: Parallel Structure
Parallel Structure
Review A
Review B
Writing with Concord: Parallel Structure
What would you think if your friend
said this to you?
My favorite pastimes are playing
watching TV.
Would you wonder if he really
liked listening to TV?
Look how we make the
sentence clearer by expressing
the pastimes in the same way.
Writing with Concord: Parallel Structure
Expressing related ideas in similar forms keeps
writing on track.
Like railroad tracks, these similar
forms are said to be parallel.
Parallel structure is the
arrangement of corresponding parts
of a sentence, or group of sentences,
in similar grammatical forms.
Writing with Concord: Parallel Structure
Let’s look at some key sentences from President John F.
Kennedy’s 1961 Inaugural Address. Here President
Kennedy explains both the promise and the threat of
modern technology.
For man holds in his mortal hands the power
to abolish all
all forms
all forms
Note the parallel grammatical forms joined by and:
adjective + noun + prepositional phrase
The repetition of key words adds to the sense of order
in the passage.
Writing with Concord: Parallel Structure
As this example shows, sentences can contain
multiple levels of parallel structures.
We observe today not a victory of party,
but a celebration of freedom —
symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning —
signifying renewal, as well as change.
noun + prepositional phrase
participial phrase
nouns joined by as well as
Writing with Concord: Parallel Structure
Speakers often use a series of parallel structures to
emphasize a point.
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us
well or ill, that we shall pay any price,
bear any burden, meet any hardship,
support any friend, oppose any foe to assure
the survival and the success of liberty.
verb + any + noun
Read this sentence aloud. What effect does the
repetition have?
Writing with Concord: Parallel Structure
On Your Own
Revise each sentence to create parallel structures. You
may need to add or delete some words.
1. The play ended tragically but predictable.
2. We could see every star and the planets clearly.
3. Wisdom and being cautious are what we need most.
4. Carrie is a true friend, a teacher who is patient, and an
artist with talent.
5. The forest has suffered unintentional harm, but it will now
benefit from our kindness that we intend to give.
[End of Section]
Review A
Identify each group of parallel structures in this famous
sentence from President Kennedy’s 1961 Inaugural Address.
Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and
foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new
generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by
war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our
ancient heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit the slow
undoing of those human rights to which this nation has
always been committed, and to which we are committed
today at home and around the world.
Review B
You have been asked to write an encouraging message to be
posted on your class Web site. Write a short message to your
classmates that includes at least three examples of parallel
The End