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Parallelism

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by

Toni Holt

on 3 November 2014

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Transcript of Parallelism

Parallelism
From Mamie Webb Hixon's
Real Good Grammar, Too

This is a report that Savanna researched, Pat wrote,
and
the editing was done by Justin.
Savanna researched
Pat wrote
the editing was done by Justin
Rather than arrive late for the show, she decided
either
to cut short her previous engagement
or
that she should reschedule it.
to cut short her previous engagement
 
that she should reschedule it
Examples
Not only
did the financial experts underestimate the economic downturn,
but
they delayed in taking action to change its course.
Not only did the financial experts underestimate . . .
but they delayed . . .
I’ll
either
take the bus
or
a taxi.
take the bus
a taxi
Either
they will fly straight home
or
stop overnight in Vallejo.
they will fly straight home 
stop overnight in Vallejo
Other Examples
Make sure everything is the same.
The Secret?
This is a report that Savanna researched, Pat wrote, and Justin edited.
Savanna researched
Pat wrote
Justin edited
Rather than arrive late for the show, she decided either to cut short her previous engagement or to reschedule it.
to cut short her previous engagement 
to reschedule it
Revised Examples
Created by Toni Holt, Fall 2014
From
Understanding English Grammar
More Revised Examples
Not only did the financial experts underestimate the economic downturn, but they also delayed in taking action to change its course.
Not only did the financial experts underestimate. . .
but they also delayed. . .
I’ll take either the bus or a taxi.
either the bus
or a taxi
Either they will fly straight home or stop overnight in Vallejo.
they will either fly straight home 
or stop overnight in Vallejo

Parallelism = Balance
Watch for parallelism in sentences with two or more items (words, phrases, clauses) connected by a conjunction in a series.
He was black, gay,
and
poor, but none of these things determined who he was
or
limited what he did.

Common Conjunctions in Parallel Items
Coordinating Conjunctions:
fanboys
for
and
nor
but
or
yet
so
Correlative Conjunctions
either. . .or
neither. . .nor
both. . .and
not only. . .but also
whether. . .or
When you're proofreading. . .
Look for the conjunction "and."
Then match the left and right side of the conjunction.
Not a match: black, gay, and
grew up in poverty

A match: black, gay, and poor

He was black, gay,
and poor
, but none of these things determined who he was or limited what he did.
When you're proofreading. . .
Look for the conjunction "or."
Then match the left and right side of the conjunction.
He was black, gay, and poor, but none of these things determin
ed

who he was

or
limit
ed

what he did
.
Parallelism with Conjunctions
The two team captains were
watching
the practice
and

finding
fault with every play.

According to the polls, Alvin Greene
didn’t have
a chance,
yet

he won
by a landslide.

They were looking for someone
who could
run the office
but

who would
“work for peanuts.”
Parallelism in Compounds with Correlatives
Ora spent the entire trip
either
arguing with me
or
with Virginia.
Ora spent the entire trip arguing
either

with me
or
with Virginia
.
OR
Ora spent the entire trip
either

arguing
with me or
hanging
out with Virginia.
Incorrect
Correct
Using "not only" with "but also"
Incorrect
I always liked going to church
not only
as an obligation
but
as an opportunity to wear my new clothes.
Correct
I always liked going to church
not only
as an obligation
but also
as an opportunity to wear my new clothes.
Parallelism in Series
We need a plumber, plasterer, and
someone to paint
.

Our vacation included camping, canoeing, and
to watch birds
.

She described the accident fully, accurately, and
with succinctness
.

We need a plumber, plasterer, and
painter
.

Our vacation included camping, canoeing, and
bird-watching
.

She described the accident fully, accurately, and
succinctly
.

Parallelism with Words
Incorrect
This proposal is
profitable
,
timely
, and
it helps us.
Correct
This proposal is
profitable
,
timely
, and
helpful
.
Parallelism with Phrases
Incorrect
Correct
A good attitude
, being on time, and speaking effectively are her attributes.
Having
a good attitude,
being
on time, and
speaking
effectively are her attributes.
Parallelism with Clauses
Incorrect
Correct
Did you know that you have a purpose, that you are needed, and
we love you
?
Did you know
that
you have a purpose,
that
you are needed, and
that
you are loved?
Parallelism and Repetition
Parallelism may involve repetition. However, clarity is more important than redundancy.
"Warner graduated from Harvard Law School without honors, without a girlfriend, and without a job."
-
Legally Blonde

Of the people, by the people, and for the people
Reminders
"Not only" needs "but also," not just "but."
"Either" needs "or,"
not "nor."
"Neither" needs "nor."
Full transcript