Parallel Structure relates to items in a series or lists that must have the same grammatical structure. Parallel structure means using the same pattern of words to show that two or more ideas have the same level of importance. This can happen at the word, phrase, or clause level. The usual way to join parallel structures is with the use of coordinating conjunctions such as “and” or “or.”
Not Parallel Structure: The production manager was asked to write his report quickly, accurately, and in a detailed manner.
Parallel Structure: The production manager was asked to write his report quickly, accurately, and thoroughly.
Parallel Example: 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.
Parallel Example: The dictionary can be used to find these: word meanings, pronunciations, correct spellings, and irregular verbs.
· 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 not, make them parallel.
· If you have several items in a list, put them in a column to see if they are parallel.
· Listen to the sound of the items in a list or the items being compared. Do you hear the same kinds of sounds? For example, is there a series of “-ing” words beginning each item? Or do you hear a rhythm being repeated? If something is breaking that rhythm or repetition of sound, check to see if it needs to be made parallel.
Fixing Common Sentence Errors
This part looks at four common sentence errors: comma splices, run-on sentences, fused sentences, and sentence fragments.
Commas splices occur when a comma is used to join two sentences. Error Example: My new job starts next month, I’ll go on vacation before it begins. Corrected Example: My new starts next month, so I’ll go on vacation before it begins.
To fix comma splices:
· If the ideas are closely related, use a semicolon rather than a comma. If they aren’t closely related, start a new sentence.
· Remember that you cannot use just a comma with the following transitions: however, therefore, nevertheless, and moreover. Instead, use a semicolon to separate the clauses or start a new sentence.
· Add a coordinating conjunction.
· Subordinate one of the clauses.
Run-on Sentences string together too many ideas and thoughts that become confusing to the reader. Error Example: My boss asked about the report, but I didn’t have it done because of all the confusion about the new hires that just started when the restructuring took place last month in order to increase production. Corrected Example: My boss asked about the report, but I didn’t have it done. This was due to the restructuring last month that brought in new hires to increase production.
To fix run-on sentences:
· Correct a short run-on sentence by adding a comma.
· Separate a long run-on sentence into two or more sentences.
· Consider subordinating one or more of the clauses.
Fused sentences join two sentences together without proper punctuation or a conjunction. Error Example: Mike bought a truck it is really cool. Corrected Example: Mike bought a truck, and it is really cool.
To fix fused sentences:
· Insert a conjunction between the two sentences.
· Insert a semicolon between the two sentences.
· Break the fused sentence into two separate sentences.
Sentence fragments are incomplete sentences or thoughts. Error Example: After you finish lunch. Corrected Example: Finish your lunch and then take a nap.
To fix sentence fragments:
· Add whatever parts of the sentence are missing or
· Incorporate the fragment into the sentence before it or after it.