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Using Parallelism in Writing

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A tutorial on how to use parallelism effectively and how to revise faulty parallelism

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Using Parallelism in Writing

  1. 1. Using Parallelism
  2. 2. Parallelism • The use of matching words, phrases, clauses or sentences to express equivalent ideas.
  3. 3. Why? • To add unity, balance, and force to your writing. • Faulty parallelism creates awkward sentences that obscure meaning and create confusion.
  4. 4. Using Parallelism Effectively Parallelism: • Emphasises relationships among equivalent ideas. • Highlights the correspondence between: 1. Items in a series 2. Paired items 3. Elements in lists and outlines.
  5. 5. Items in a Series: • Coordinate elements — words, phrases, or clauses should be presented in parallel form. 1 Using Parallelism Effectively
  6. 6. 1 Using Parallelism Effectively Items in a Series: Baby food consumption, toy production, and school construction are likely to decline as the population of the Netherlands grows older.
  7. 7. 1 Using Parallelism EffectivelyItems in a Series: Three factors influenced his decision to seek new employment: his desire to relocate, his need for greater responsibility, and his dissatisfaction with his current job.
  8. 8. Paired Items: • Paired points or ideas (words, phrases, or clauses) should be presented in parallel form. • Parallelism emphasises their equivalence and connects the two ideas. 2 Using Parallelism Effectively
  9. 9. 2 Paired Items: Roosevelt represented the United States, and Churchill represented Great Britain. Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. Using Parallelism Effectively
  10. 10. Paired Items: • Items linked by correlating conjunctions (such as not only/but also, both/and, either/or and neither/nor should be parallel. The design team paid close attention not only to color, but also to texture. 2 Using Parallelism Effectively
  11. 11. Paired Items: • Parallelism highlights the contrast between paired elements linked by than or as. Success is as much a matter of hard work as a matter of luck. 2 Using Parallelism Effectively
  12. 12. 3 • Items in a list should be presented in parallel form. Using Parallelism Effectively
  13. 13. 3 The Irish potato famine had four major causes: 1. The establishment of the landlord-tenant system 2. The failure of the potato crop 3. The inadequate financial support by England 4. The passage of the corn laws Using Parallelism Effectively
  14. 14. Revising Faulty Parallelism • Faulty parallelism occurs when equivalent ideas in a sentence are not presented in parallel form.
  15. 15. Revising Faulty Parallelism Faulty: Many people in developing countries suffer because the countries lack sufficient housing to accommodate them, sufficient food to feed them, and their healthcare facilities areinadequate.
  16. 16. Revising Faulty Parallelism Revised: Many people in developing countries suffer because the countries lack sufficient housing to accommodate them, sufficient food to feed them, and sufficient health-care facilities to serve them.
  17. 17. Using Parallel Elements: Faulty parallelism can be revised by matching nouns with nouns, verbs with verbs, and phrases and clauses with similarly constructed phrases and clauses. 1 Revising Faulty Parallelism
  18. 18. 1 Revising Faulty ParallelismFaulty: Popular exercises for men and women include spinning, weight lifters, and jogging. Revised: Popular exercises for men and women include
  19. 19. Repeating Key Words: Sentences are often clearer and more emphatic if certain keywords (articles, prepositions, and the to in infinitives, for example) are repeated in each element of a pair or series. 2 Revising Faulty Parallelism
  20. 20. 2 Revising Faulty Parallelism Faulty: Computerization has helped industry by not allowing labor costs to skyrocket, increasing the speed of production, and improving efficiency. Revised: Computerization has helped industry by not allowing labor
  21. 21. 3 Revising Faulty ParallelismRepeating Relative Pronouns: The relative pronoun constructions who(m) … and who(m), and which … and which are always paired and always introduce parallel clauses. When you revise, check to be sure a relative pronoun introduces each
  22. 22. Revising Faulty Parallelism Faulty: The Thing, directed by Howard Hawks, and which was released in 1951, featured James Arness as the monster. Revised: The Thing, which was directed by Howard Hawks and which was released in 1951, featured James Arness as the 3
  23. 23. For more presentations, visit: resources for teachers and learners of English

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