Parallel Construction: A Newbie’s Information to Understanding This Writing Method

Let’s begin with a parallel construction instance proper off the bat. What’s unsuitable with this sentence?

To realize extra Twitter followers, attempt to tweet different folks’s weblog posts, participate in Twitter chats and replying to different folks’s tweets.

To make the issue clearer, we are able to flip the sentence into bullet factors and add some emphasis:

To realize extra Twitter followers, attempt to:

Tweet different folks’s weblog posts
Take half in Twitter chats
Replying to different folks’s tweets

Right here’s the issue: the third bullet level doesn’t match the introductory phrase.

All of the verbs on this listing ought to comply with “attempt to” … however “attempt to replying” doesn’t make any sense.

You might nicely really feel that the error is blindingly apparent…however once you’re drafting and re-drafting an article, errors like this could simply creep in.

What’s parallel construction?

Parallel construction  — also referred to as parallel sentence construction or parallelism — means having matching components of a phrase, sentence or paragraph.

It may be used for literary impact (as we’ll come see in a second), however on the most simple stage, it merely means guaranteeing your writing is grammatical.

Any time you introduce a sequence of factors inside a sentence or a bullet-pointed listing, it’s necessary to make sure all of the factors are parallel. Typically, this implies beginning each with a verb within the appropriate tense.

Typically, it’s not grammatically important to make the factors in a listing match…however your writing will nonetheless learn extra easily in the event you use parallelism.

Right here’s one other parallel construction instance

Because the best option to be taught is commonly to evaluate examples, let’s have a look at one other parallel construction instance.

Earlier than modifying:

My favourite three ideas for writing quicker are:

The web could be a large distraction: flip off your connection when you write
In the event you haven’t tried it earlier than, give dictation a attempt
Preserve writing: the extra you write, the quicker you’ll get and the simpler it will likely be

After modifying:

My favourite three ideas for writing quicker are:

Flip off your web connection: it may be an enormous distraction when you’re writing
Give dictation a attempt: many writers report hitting 3000 – 4000 phrases per hour when talking reasonably than typing
Preserve writing: the extra you write, the quicker you’ll get and the simpler it will likely be

The second model reads extra easily and appears extra assured, just because every bullet level follows the identical format. Each begins with an crucial verb, then the instruction is adopted by a colon and an evidence.

Once you edit your work, look out for sentences and paragraphs that would simply be tweaked to deliver every half into line with the others.

Going additional with parallel sentence construction

The place potential (and it nearly all the time is), it is best to purpose to make use of parallelism for subheadings inside a weblog publish or chapters inside a e book.

For example, right here’s the right way to use parallel sentence construction in a weblog publish.

In four Methods to Cope When Your Freelance-Writing Pitch Goes Unanswered, Leila Mooney makes use of the next subheadings (emphasis mine):

Make positive you probably did your analysis
Comply with up
Acknowledge a lifeless finish
Get powerful

Each begins with an crucial verb, creating a cultured, coherent impact.

Let’s have a look at an instance in a e book, too. As a result of parallelism may also be used for literary impact: to create a hyperlink between two ideas, or to create an echo inside a sentence or paragraph.

Maybe one of the crucial well-known examples is the opening of Charles Dickens’ A Story of Two Cities:

It was the perfect of occasions, it was the worst of occasions, it was the age of knowledge, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of perception, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Gentle, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had the whole lot earlier than us, we had nothing earlier than us, we have been all going direct to Heaven, we have been all going direct the opposite approach – in brief, the interval was to date like the current interval, that a few of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being acquired, for good or for evil, within the superlative diploma of comparability solely.

Even in the event you’ve by no means heard of “parallelism” earlier than, I guess you’re already utilizing this method as a pure a part of your writing. Look out for it subsequent time you write a listing. It is a wonderful means to enhance your grammar.

Be careful for parallelism in different writers’ work, too: take into consideration how they’re utilizing it, and the way it impacts you as a reader.

Getting this unsuitable is a sure-fire option to appear like a newbie. However in the event you get it proper, your writing will learn easily, and that’s all the time a step in the suitable path.

In regards to the Writer: Ali Luke

Ali Luke blogs concerning the artwork, craft and enterprise of writing at Aliventures, the place you possibly can seize your copy of her mini-ebook Time to Write (plus different freebies).

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