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Parallelism


Definition of parallelism

The balance between two or more similar words, phrases or clauses is called parallelism in grammar. Parallelism is also called parallel structure or parallel construction. Parallel construction prevents awkwardness, promotes clarity and improves writing style and readability.

Examples:

  • Nancy likes playing the piano, the trumpet and play the guitar. false
    Nancy likes the piano, the trumpet and the guitar.true
    Nancy likes playing the piano, the trumpet and the guitar.true
  • She played basketball, had a shower and gone to school.false
    She played basketball, had a shower and went to school. true
  • You can apply to the job by filling this form or apply by telephone.false
    You can apply to the job by filling this form or you can apply by telephone.true

Rules of parallelism

  1. Parallelism is used to balance nouns with nouns, prepositional phrases with prepositional phrases, participles with participles, infinitives with infinitives, clauses with clauses.
  2. Parallelism is used with elements joined by coordinating conjunctions. 
    My mother likes cooking and to read.false
    My mother likes cooking and reading true
  3. Parallelism is used with elements in lists or in a series.
    This task can be done individually, in pairs, or can be done in groups of four. false
    This task can be done individually, in pairs, or in groups of four.true
  4. Parallelism is used with elements being compared
    She is mad about watching TV more than to read a book .false
    She is mad about watching TV more than reading a book. true
  5. Parallelism is used with elements joined by a linking verb or a form of be
    To learn is understanding the world. false
    To learn is to understand the world. true
  6. Parallelism is used with elements joined by linking words.
    The teacher not only wants his students to keep quiet but also to do the task . false
    The teacher wants his students not only to keep quiet but also to do the task .true

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