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Sentence correction: parallelism errors

by Tiffany

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What is parallelism?

"Parallel" is a term you've heard in math - lines which are at equal planes with each other.

It's the same concept in sentence correction - think of the phrases in your sentence as parallel lines. You want all the lines to "match". You want them to be consistent with each other.


Parallelism is the comparing or listing of two or more phrases which should all take the same form.

"Seeing is believing." Correct!



This sentence is correct, because the verb forms used for "see" and "believe" are consistent. They both using the form "-ing".


"To see is to believe." Also correct!




Both verbs are used as infinitives - "to see" and "to believe". They are parallel to each other.



The basic rule: Do not mix forms.


"To see is believing." Wrong!


"Seeing is to believe." Also wrong!




You're mixing up the forms here. These two sentences are grammatically incorrect. An "-ing" word is being compared to an infinitive root word, and that simply doesn't make sense.



Some more examples

Example 1

Not Parallel: Mary likes hiking, swimming, and to ride a bicycle.
Parallel: Mary likes hiking, swimming, and riding a bicycle.


Example 2

Not Parallel: The production manager was asked to write his report quickly, accurately, and thorough in his manner.
Parallel: The production manager was asked to write his report quickly, accurately, and thoroughly.


Example 3
Not Parallel: To struggle for success is not as rewarding as achieving it.
Parallel: Struggling for success is not as rewarding as achieving it.



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References: Owl,Richard Bowles

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Last Updated At Dec 13, 2012
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