GrammarPhile Blog

Why Is Parallel Structure Important in Writing?

Posted by Kelly Creighton   Oct 25, 2018 7:52:54 AM

We often forget how important the overall structure of a sentence is to its flow, meaning, and tone. And we also take common grammatical practices for granted when we use parallel structure, because we typically use them with ease and without much intentional thought at all. However, when we get parallel structure in writing wrong, it goes really wrong and we typically never even notice it without the help of a reliable editor or proofreader.

What Is Parallel Structure?

Parallel structure in writing is also called “parallelism.” Here’s a definition of “parallel structure” provided by Purdue Online Writing Lab:

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” and “or.”

Overall, parallel structure guarantees uniformity and consistency throughout a piece of writing, to ensure its clarity and accuracy. And by making each compared item or idea in a phrase or clause follow the same grammatical pattern, you create a parallel construction.

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Topics: parallel structure, parallelism

A Semicolon Example: When to Use or Not

Posted by Julie DeSilva   Jun 26, 2012 5:30:00 AM

It's an unusual water ski, no one knows much about it is an example of the so-called comma fault--using a comma to connect two independent clauses. The comma is not a connector; it is a separator. The semicolon, however, can function as both a connector and a separator, and at the same time: It's an unusual water ski; no one knows much about it. If we use a comma, then we have to supply a connector--that is, a conjunction such as and: It's an unusual water ski, and no one knows much about it.

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Topics: parallel structure, parallelism, punctuation, conjunctions

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