25 Parallelism

This is an English class, so we will discuss a few things about grammar and writing style. I’d like to take a few minutes to talk about something important in your first required assignment: parallelism.


Your first assignment, which will be discussed in Parallelism Worksheet module, requires you to list several items. In order for those lists to be clear and easily understood by your audience, they have to be written in a parallel manner. That means each item in the list should use the same grammatical structure.


For instance, two parts of a balanced sentence need to be parallel in structure: “John won $20, and the news was very exciting for him.” The first half of this sentence is active: John did the action of the verb. But the second half is passive: John has become the object of the sentence. For it to be parallel in structure, it should read: “John won $20, and he was very excited about it.”


Look at the following sentence:

I like to run, to swim and playing tennis.

Obviously, that is a grammatical mistake: “to run” and “to swim” are different grammatical structures than “playing tennis.” They need to be similar if given in a list, so it would be correct written “to play tennis” (or all ing words).


So think of the order of words whenever you have a list, whether in a sentence or listed in a column. They should be the same. They should have a similar sound. Your first written assignment in this module will be a practice in using parallelism. Try doing all the exercises. If you don’t understand any, ask questions.


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