Parallel Structure | Writing

June 16, 2015 thetasctest

Using Parallel Structure | Writing

Parallel structure increases readability. Word patterns create proper parallelism that readers can easily follow. Using parallel structure is a high emphasis topic on the TASC Test Assessing Secondary Completion™ Writing subtest.

Parallel structure can be established when the words within a sentence are united by a consistent use of grammatical forms. When your writing lacks parallel structure, “it can disrupt the rhythm of a sentence, leaving it grammatically unbalanced. Proper parallel structure helps to establish balance and flow in a well-constructed sentence; the alignment of related ideas supports readability and clarity”, according to Writingcommons.org.

Let’s look at a few examples from Purdue’s Online Writing Lab:

Parallel structure can happen at the word, phrase, or clause level.

Words and Phrases 

With the -ing form of words:

Parallel:

Mary likes hiking, swimming, and bicycling.

With infinitive phrases:

Parallel:

Mary likes to hike, to swim, and to ride a bicycle.

OR

Mary likes to hike, swim, and ride a bicycle.

(Note: You can use "to" before all the verbs in a sentence or only before the first one.)

Do not mix form 

Example 1:

Not Parallel:

Mary likes hiking, swimming, and to ride a bicycle.

Parallel:

Mary likes hiking, swimming, and riding a bicycle.

Example 2:

Not Parallel:

The production manager was asked to write his report quickly, accurately, and in a detailed manner.

Parallel:

The production manager was asked to write his report quickly, accurately, and thoroughly.

Clauses 

A parallel structure that begins with clauses must stay with clauses.

Not Parallel:

The coach told the players that they should get a lot of sleep, that they should not eat too much, and to do some warm-up exercises before the game.

Parallel:

The coach told the players that they should get a lot of sleep, that they should not eat too much, and that they should do some warm-up exercises before the game.

-or-

Parallel:

The coach told the players that they should get a lot of sleep, not eat too much, and do some warm-up exercises before the game.

As you prepare to take your TASC Writing subtest, it is important to proofread your writing to ensure it follows parallelism. Skim your paper, pausing at the words "and" and "or.” Check on each side of these words to see whether the items joined are parallel. If they aren’t, make them parallel.

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