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1.2: Parallel Structure

This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on August 7, 2009 .

This page deals with parallel structure.

Parallel Structure

When writing or revising a text, look carefully at sentences that list words, phrases, or clauses. In these sentences, the words, phrases, or clauses listed must follow the same grammatical form. This is called parallel structure. Read at the examples below to understand how to revise sentences for parallel structure.

Parallel: Tomorrow, I want to shop and eat lunch with Sarah.

In this sentence, the verbs to be shopping and eat lunch are the same form. To create parallel structure, the two verbs must be structured in the same form.

Parallel: Sarah and I always like to shop at specialty shops, in shoe stores, and in home stores.

This sentence lacks parallel structure for a couple of reasons. First, specialty shops and home stores are both preceded by prepositions (at and in), but shoe stores is not. Additionally, home stores is preceded by an article (the), but specialty shops and shoe stores are not.

Parallel: The best places to eat are casual, fun, and inexpensive.

Here, the sentence is not in parallel structure because the list includes words (casual and fun) and a short phrase (you can get a meal for cheap). A list should only be composed of either words or short phrases, not both.

Parallel Structure Exercise

Revise each of the following sentences for parallel structure.

Click here for exercise answers.

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