15. Parallel Structure

Examples of Parallel Construction Problems:

(* = the sentence is incorrect.)

(1) Non-parallel clauses and/or phrases:

*Because of the schools lower standards and did not teach students the skills they needed, many of the students were under-prepared in today’s workplace.

In the above sentence, there is

Prepositional phrase + and + verb phrase.

 You could repair this in two different ways:

 With parallel objects of the preposition because of:

 Because of the schools’ lower standards (n.) and failure (n.) to teach students the skills they needed, many of the students were under-prepared in today’s workplace.

Or with parallel adverbial clauses:

 Because the schools lowered (v.) their standards and did not teach (v.) students the skills they needed, many of the students were under-prepared in today’s workplace.

 Here is a similar example:

 * A recent international study of 13-year-olds shows that Korean youngsters have less self-esteem about their math skills than American students, even though they do (v.) much better in math study than those of Americans (noun phrase).

 The correct sentence is:

 A recent international study of 13-year-olds shows that Korean youngsters have less self-esteem about their math skills than American students, even though they do (v.) much better in math study than Americans do (v.).

(2) Non-parallel pronouns:

 *If a student gets good grades for her first exam, they are confident enough to take another exam.

 You can repair this sentence in two ways, because you can often make a statement of general truth by making using either a + singular noun or plural noun:

 If a student gets a good grade for her first exam, she is confident enough to take another exam.

or

If students get good grades for their first exam, they are confident enough to take another exam.

 3) Non-parallel verb tenses:

*I think good education really can change someone’s life; it can get respect from others and can stimulated a passion for learning in the future.

 In this case, there is no reason to suddenly change to the past tense. The correct sentence is:

 I think good education really can change someone’s life; it can get respect from others and can stimulate a passion for learning in the future.

Another example:

**Exchange of information before the Internet was hard because every company had to clerical workers who who moved files from one company to another or mailing them, which takes a long time.

In this sentence, the first simple past verb is correct, and you need to stay in the simple past:

Exchange of information before the Internet was hard because every company had to clerical workers who who moved files from one company to another or mailed them, which took a long time.

4) Non-parallel parts of speech:

*Questioning makes people want to solve problems, invention of new things and promotion of their employment and lives.

You can change the verb *solve” to a noun to go with “invention” and “promotion”:

Questioning makes people want solutions to problems, invention of new things and promotion of their employment and lives.

Or you can change the two nouns to verbs:

Questioning makes people want to solve problems, invent new things and promote their employment and lives.

5) Non-parallel verbs:

*The Internet helps us to get information right away, convenient for teachers and students, and saving time with shopping.

This whole sentence should continue in the present tense, with a present tense verb for each object:

The Internet helps us to get information right away, is convenient for teachers and students, and saves time with shopping.

6) Non-parallel noun phrases:

*The disadvantages of extreme sports are getting injured and might kill yourself.

Repaired sentences:

The disadvantages of extreme sports are getting injured and maybe killing yourself.

or better,

The disadvantages of extreme sports are injury or possible death.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s