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.