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Balancing Parallel Ideas
Transcript of Balancing Parallel Ideas
with clauses... Phrases should be balanced
with phrases... 3 Examples A kiss can be a comma, a question mark, or an exclamation point.
- Mistinguett This novel is not to be tossed lightly aside,
but to be hurled with great force.
- Dorothy Parker In matters of principle, stand like a rock;
in matters of taste, swim with the current.
- Thomas Jefferson When pairing ideas, underscore their connection by expressing them in similar grammatical form. Paired ideas are usually connected in one of these ways: Readers expect items in a series to appear in parallel grammatical form. When one or more of the items violate readers' expectations, a sentence will be needlessly awkward. Function words such as prepositions (by, to) and subordinating conjunctions (that, because) signal the grammatical nature of the word groups to follow. Although you can sometimes omit them, be sure to include them whenever they signal parallel structures
that readers might otherwise miss. Single words should be balanced
with single words... Children who study music also learn confidence, discipline, and they are creative. Children who study music also learn confidence, discipline, and creativity. The revision presents all the items in the series
as nouns: confidence, discipline, creativity. Another example:
Impressionist painters believed in focusing on ordinary subjects, capturing the effects of light on those subjects, and to use short brushstrokes. Revision:
Impressionist painters believed in focusing on ordinary subjects, capturing the effects of light on those subjects, and using short brushstrokes. The revision uses -ing forms (gerunds, in this case) for all the items in the series: focusing, capturing, using Racing to get to work on time, Sam drove down the middle
of the road, ran one red light, and two stop signs. How should we revise this one? . . . Sam drove down the middle of the road, ran one red light, and ignored two stop signs. The revision adds a verb to make the three items parallel: drove, ran, ignored. 1. with a coordinating conjunction such as "and," "but," or "or"
2. with a pair of correlative conjunctions such as "either . . . or" or "not only . . . but also"
3. with a word introducing a comparison, usually "than" or "as" Coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, for, so, and yet) link ideas of equal importance. When those ideas are closely parallel in content, they should be expressed in parallel grammatical form. Correlative conjunctions come in pairs: either . . . or,
neither . . . nor, not only . . . but also, both . . . and,
whether . . . or.
Make sure that the grammatical structure following the second half of the pair is the same as that following the first half. In comparisons linked with "than" or "as," the elements being compared should be expressed in parallel grammatical structure. The End