Writing clear and concise sentences is essential for effective communication. One of the key principles in writing well-structured sentences is using parallel structure. Parallel structure, also known as parallelism, is when words, phrases, or clauses in a sentence have a similar form. This helps to create balance and symmetry in the sentence, making it easier for the reader to understand and follow the writer’s intention. In this article, we will explore what parallel structure is and provide examples of sentences with and without parallel structure to determine which sentence best uses parallel structure.
What is Parallel Structure?
Parallel structure is a writing technique that involves using the same grammatical form for similar elements within a sentence. This means that if one part of a sentence is in a certain tense, form, or voice, the other parts should mirror that structure. The goal of parallel structure is to make sentences more coherent and easier to read by creating a sense of balance and symmetry.
When elements in a sentence are not parallel, it can lead to confusion or awkwardness for the reader. Parallel structure can be applied to various components of a sentence, including:
- List items
Examples of Sentences with Parallel Structure
Let’s look at some examples of sentences that use parallel structure:
- Incorrect Sentence: She likes hiking, swimming, and to ride a bike.
- Corrected Sentence with Parallel Structure: She likes hiking, swimming, and biking.
In the corrected sentence, the verbs “hiking,” “swimming,” and “biking” are parallel because they are all in the gerund form, -ing. This creates a balanced and cohesive sentence.
- Incorrect Sentence: The store sells clothing, shoes, and has accessories.
- Corrected Sentence with Parallel Structure: The store sells clothing, shoes, and accessories.
In this example, the elements “clothing,” “shoes,” and “accessories” are parallel because they are all nouns. This creates a harmonious sentence that is easy to understand.
Which Sentence Best Uses Parallel Structure?
Now that we have discussed what parallel structure is and provided examples of sentences with parallel structure, let’s analyze two sentences to determine which sentence best uses parallel structure.
- Incorrect Sentence: Mary likes to run, going for a bike ride, and reading a book in the park.
- Corrected Sentence with Parallel Structure: Mary likes to run, ride a bike, and read a book in the park.
In the incorrect sentence, the elements “run,” “going for a bike ride,” and “reading a book in the park” are not parallel. The corrected sentence maintains parallel structure by using the infinitive form (“to run,” “to ride a bike,” “to read a book”) for each activity, resulting in a more coherent and balanced sentence.
Benefits of Using Parallel Structure
Using parallel structure in sentences offers several benefits, including:
- Improved clarity: Parallel structure helps to organize ideas and make them easier for the reader to understand.
- Enhanced readability: By creating balance and symmetry in sentences, parallel structure improves the flow of writing.
- Emphasis on key points: Parallel structure can highlight important information by presenting it in a consistent and easily digestible format.
- Professionalism: Well-structured sentences with parallel structure convey a sense of professionalism and attention to detail.
Parallel structure is a fundamental element of clear and effective writing. By ensuring that words, phrases, or clauses in a sentence have a consistent grammatical form, writers can create balanced and coherent sentences that are easy to read and understand. Which sentence best uses parallel structure ultimately depends on whether the elements within the sentence are parallel in form. By practicing parallel structure, writers can improve the quality of their writing and communicate their ideas more effectively.