# 7. Parallel Structure - Phoenix Union High School District

```Note to teachers:
•There are 11 questions in the activity.
•Instruct the students to write both the letter of the correct
•Writing the sentence will help the students understand parallel
structure than if they simply writes the letter.
•Instruct the students to also underline the parts of the sentence
that are parallel.
•It is possible to break this into two days or to shorten the activity.
•Be sure that students answer at least the first 6 questions. After
question 4, there are 2 slides with tips related to the students’
own writing.
•There are “pointer” slides (entitled “Remember”) beginning with
slide #35. It is important that the students read these.
•After the pointer slides, there are more questions to reinforce the
concept.
Parallel Structure
Bostrom High School
English Department
Ms. Howard
What Is Parallel Structure?
• Parallel construction (or
structure) means that a pair or
series of items have the same
form.
• The usual way to join parallel
structures is with the use of
coordinating such as and or or.
• Make sure each item in a series has
the same structure.
• Not parallel: Superbugs are adapting,
kill thousands.
–Notice that two of the verbs in the
series end in –ing, but the third (“kill”)
does not. (Not parallel)
killing thousands.
–All three of the verbs in the series end
in –ing. (Parallel)
• Parallel Structure Rap
B-A-L-A-N-C-E-D
• Do you have a better idea
• Parallel structure makes sure
Do you see the difference?
Not Parallel:
Mary likes hiking, swimming, and
to ride a bicycle.
Parallel:
Mary likes hiking, swimming,
and riding a bicycle.
Can you see the difference?
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.
You try it!
•
•
•
•
Number you paper from 1 – 11.
Read the choices on the slides.
Write the sentence. Underline the
elements that are parallel.
#1. Which one is parallel & why?
A. Justin was excited about inviting
friends over, eating a good meal, and to
play a game of cards.
B. Justin was excited about inviting
friends over, eating a good meal, and to
play cards.
C. Justin was excited about inviting
friends over, eating a good meal, and
playing a game of cards.
#1. The correct answer is C because all
three verbs end in –ing.
A. Justin was excited about inviting
friends over, eating a good meal, and to
play a game of cards.
B. Justin was excited about inviting
friends over, eating a good meal, and to
play cards.
C. Justin was excited about inviting
friends over, eating a good meal, and
playing a game of cards.
• Be sure that you write the sentence
and underline the elements.
• For example, for question #1, you
would underline the words that are
in red.
friends over, eating a good meal, and
playing a game of cards.
• Change the answer on your
paper.
• Cross out the elements that are
NOT parallel and replace them
with the elements that ARE
parallel.
#2. Let’s try another! Which sentence
contains parallel structure?
A. When the weather outside is cold and
starting to get windy, I like to be
indoors.
B. When the weather outside is cold and
windy, I like to be indoors.
C. When the weather outside is cold and
getting windy, I like to be indoors.
#2. Are these two parts the same?
(Hint: Look at the words in blue.)
• When the weather outside is
cold and starting to get windy,
I like to be indoors.
#2. Are these two parts the same?
• When the weather outside is
cold and getting windy, I like
to be indoors.
#2. Are these two parts the same?
• When the weather outside is
cold and windy, I like to be
indoors.
The correct answer for #2 is B.
A. When the weather outside is cold and
starting to get windy, I like to be
indoors.
B. When the weather outside is cold
and windy, I like to be indoors.
C. When the weather outside is cold and
getting windy, I like to be indoors.
#3. A typical test question:
• What is the best way to revise this
sentence?
– Researchers study superbugs, probe
their weaknesses, and they hope to
find new treatments.
• Read the three choices on the next slide,
write the letter of the best choice, and
explain (in writing) why it is the best
choice.
#3. Write the sentence that is parallel & underline
the parallel elements.
A. Researchers study superbugs,
probe their weaknesses, and they
hope to find new treatments.
B. Researchers study superbugs, they
probe their weaknesses, and they
hope to find new treatments.
C. Researchers study superbugs,
probe their weaknesses, and hope
to find new treatments.
#3. What is the correct answer?
Examine the words in purple & red.
What do you see?
A. Researchers study superbugs, probe their
weaknesses, and they hope to find new
treatments.
B. Researchers study superbugs, they probe
their weaknesses, and they hope to find
new treatments.
C. Researchers study superbugs, probe their
weaknesses, and hope to find new
treatments.
#3. You’ve got it!
• The words in purple are not balanced;
they do not have parallel structure
A. study … probe … they hope
B. study … they probe … they hope
• The words in red ARE balanced; they
HAVE parallel structure.
C. study … probe … hope
The Correct Answer for #3 is………
A. Researchers study superbugs, probe their
weaknesses, and they hope to find new
treatments.
B. Researchers study superbugs, they probe
their weaknesses, and they hope to find
new treatments.
C. Researchers study superbugs, probe
their weaknesses, and hope to find
new treatments.
#4. Which one is parallel? Write the
sentence on your paper & underline
the parallel elements.
A. I have always enjoyed reading the book
more than I have watched the movie
version.
B. I have always enjoyed reading the book
more than to watch the movie.
C. I have always enjoyed reading the book
more than watching the movie.
#4. Which one is parallel?
Look at the parts.
A. I have always enjoyed reading the
book more than I have watched the
movie version.
B. I have always enjoyed reading the
book more than to watch the movie.
C. I have always enjoyed reading the
book more than watching the movie.
#4. If you said C, you are correct.
A. …reading the book more than I have
watched the movie version.
B. …reading the book more than to watch
the movie.
C. …reading the book more than
watching the movie.
• Do you see the -ing verbs followed by
the and the noun?
• Skim your paper, pausing at the words
"and" and "or." Check on each side of
these words to see whether the items
joined are parallel. If not, make them
parallel.
• If you have several items in a list, put
them in a column to see if they are
parallel.
• Listen to the sound of the items in a list or the
items being compared.
• Do you hear the same kinds of sounds? For
example, is there a series of "-ing" words
beginning each item?
• Or do your hear a rhythm being repeated? If
something is breaking that rhythm or
repetition of sound, check to see if it needs to
Parallel Structure
LET’S PRACTICE SOME MORE
#5. What is the best way to revise sentence A?
If it is correct as it is, choose A.
A. Mary tried out for the basketball team, the
soccer team, and she went to tryouts for the
volleyball team, too.
B. Mary tried out for the basketball team, and
the soccer team, and she tried out for the
volleyball team.
C. Mary tried out for the basketball team, the
soccer team, and the volleyball team.
#5. Did you choose C?
A. Mary tried out for the basketball team, the
soccer team, and she went to tryouts for the
volleyball team, too.
B. Mary tried out for the basketball team, and
the soccer team, and she tried out for the
volleyball team.
C. Mary tried out for the basketball team, the
soccer team, and the volleyball team.
#6. What is the best way to revise sentence A?
If it is correct as it is, choose A.
A. Inez heard the phone ringing,
answered it, and is taking a message.
B. Inez heard the phone ringing, went to
answer it, and is taking a message.
C. Inez heard the phone ringing,
answered it, and took a message.
#6. C is correct because it uses past tense for
all three verbs. The other choices contain verb
structures that are not parallel.
A. Inez heard the phone ringing,
answered it, and is taking a message.
B. Inez heard the phone ringing, went to
answer it, and is taking a message.
C. Inez heard the phone ringing,
answered it, and took a message.
After the pointers, there are more practice problems.
STRUCTURE
Remember!
• Use Parallel Structure when writing
elements in the form of a list or a series.
• Incorrect: The class valued respect,
honesty, and being on time in a teacher.
• Correct: The class valued respect,
honesty, and promptness in a
teacher.
Remember!
• Use Parallel Structure when you join
elements two or more elements in your
sentence.
• Incorrect: I am allergic to the dog’s hair
and how it smells.
• Correct: I am allergic to the dog’s
hair and its smell.
Remember!
• Use Parallel Structure when you are
comparing or contrasting element.
• Incorrect: James enjoys reading more
than to write.
• Correct: James enjoys reading more
than writing.
Remember!
• 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.
More practice questions
• Continue with questions 7 – 11.
#7. What is the best way to revise sentence A?
If it is correct as it is, choose A.
A. In its energy, its lyrics, and the costumes
they wore, the band presented a
powerful protest.
B. In its energy, its lyrics, and its costumes,
the band presented a powerful protest.
C. In its energy, the lyrics, and the costumes
they wore, the band presented a
powerful protest.
#7. B is the correct choice because all three use
the possessive pronoun its before the nouns.
A. In its energy, its lyrics, and the costumes
they wore, the band presented a
powerful protest.
B. In its energy, its lyrics, and its costumes,
the band presented a powerful protest.
C. In its energy, the lyrics, and the costumes
they wore, the band presented a
powerful protest.
#8. What is the best way to revise sentence A?
If it is correct as it is, choose A.
A. 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.
B. The coach told the players that they should get
a lot of sleep, to not eat too much, and to do
some warm-up exercises before the game.
C. 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.
#8. Did you choose C?
A. 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.
B. The coach told the players that they should get
a lot of sleep, to not eat too much, and to do
some warm-up exercises before the game.
C. 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.
#9. Review: Which one is correct?
A. Running, lifting, and racquetball are
three of Ashley’s favorite exercises.
B. Running, lifting, and a spinning class
are three of Ashley’s favorite
exercises.
C. Running, lifting, and bicycling are
three of Ashley’s favorite exercises.
#9. Do you see the same
construction?
A. Running, lifting, and racquetball are
three of Ashley’s favorite exercises.
B. Running, lifting, and a spinning class
are three of Ashley’s favorite
exercises.
C. Running, lifting, and bicycling are
three of Ashley’s favorite exercises.
Parallel Structure with Clauses!
• A parallel structure that begins with
clauses must keep on with clauses.
• Changing to another pattern or
changing the voice of the verb (from
active to passive or vice versa) will
break the parallelism.
Example
• Not Parallel:
The salesman expected that he would present
his product at the meeting, that there would be
time for him to show his slide presentation, and
that questions would be asked by prospective
• Parallel:
The salesman expected that he would present
his product at the meeting, that there would be
time for him to show his slide presentation, and
questions.
# 10. What is the best way to revise sentence A?
If it is correct as it is, choose A.
A. Here is where the cold winds blow and the bears
hibernate, where a family’s income is double the
national average, and almost everyone lives in a
trailer.
B. Here is where the cold winds blow and the bears
hibernate, where a family’s income is double the
national average, and where almost everyone lives
in a trailer.
C. Here is where the cold winds blow and the bears
hibernate, a family’s income is double the national
average, and where almost everyone lives in a
trailer.
# 10. Did you choose B?
Do you see the three where clauses?
A. Here is where the cold winds blow and the bears
hibernate, where a family’s income is double the
national average, and almost everyone lives in a
trailer.
B. Here is where the cold winds blow and the bears
hibernate, where a family’s income is double the
national average, and where almost everyone lives
in a trailer.
C. Here is where the cold winds blow and the bears
hibernate, a family’s income is double the national
average, and where almost everyone lives in a
trailer.
# 11. Here’s a challenge for you!
• Is this parallel?
The teacher said that he was a poor
student because he waited until the
last minute to study for the exam,
completed his lab problems in a
careless manner, and his motivation
was low.
# 11. See the difference?
• The teacher said that he was a poor student
because he waited until the last minute to
study for the exam, completed his lab
problems in a careless manner, and his
motivation was low. (not parallel)
• The teacher said that he was a poor student
because he waited until the last minute to
study for the exam, completed his lab
problems in a careless manner, and lacked
motivation. (parallel)
Congratulations!
• You are now an expert on parallel
structure.
• If you pay attention to parallel structure
in your writing, it will be more clear,
more fluent, and more effective.
• http://english-grammar-review.com/
• Go to: Parallel Construction
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