What is Parallel Structure?

Parallel structure uses the same pattern of words to show that two or more ideas have the same level of importance as well as to create clear and concise sentences to help the reader quickly process information.  If one element is an adjective, then all elements should be adjectives; if one element is a verb, then all elements should be verbs, and so forth.

 

Parallel structures occur in the following situations:

(1)  With coordinate conjunctions – and, but, or, etc.

=> You can stay at home or go to the movies with us.

=> Eileen loves skiing, running and reading.

=> Eileen loves to ski, to run and to read.

=> Eileen loves to ski, run and read.

=> Parallel structure uses the same pattern of words to show the same level of importance of two or more ideas as well as to create clear and concise sentences

=> He hurt his arm as well as broke his leg.

(2)With correlative conjunctions – either ... or, not only … but also, neither … nor, etc.

=> He wants either to watch a movie or to play a board game.

=> Martin not only is a successful businessman but also is a great philanthropist.

=> Martin is not only a successful businessman but also a great philanthropist.

 

(3) With comparisons

=> To be rich is better than to be poor.

=> Watching a movie sounds as attractive as playing a board game.

=> It is easier said than done.

=> I would rather go to the movies than stay at home.

=> I prefer going to the movies to staying at home.

 

(4)With linking verb or verb of being

=> To forgive is to have peace of mind.

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