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*Asterisk = examples of errors or poor constructions*.

Student Learning: Grammar

Parallel Constructions

A sentence should involve the same consistent use of word types and grammatical structures when expressing ideas of equal importance. It is most obvious when creating list-like sentences, but is important in more complex sentences as well, where consistency is the mark of a good writer. Note: while some issues of parallel construction are very obvious, others are stylistic and open to personal taste and debate.

  1. 1.1 Examples with ideas of similar value.

*I really hate to read and writing in poor light.* (Note: Asterisks signal examples of poor constructions.)

*In the holidays I like swimming, sunbathing, to eat good food and cycling.*

  1. 1.2 Examples where the items mentioned are equally contrasted with each other when using ~ing form:

*I would rather be playing soccer than to watch it.*

*Writing is more important to John than to be famous.*

*I would prefer interviewing you in person rather than to talk to you by phone.*

  1. 1.3  If you use an article (the/a) with the first item in your sentence you generally need to be consistent with the rest.

*The panel was very representative and included a policeman, a councillor, road worker and nurse.*

*Donald was eventually overwhelmed by workload pressure, the family commitments and nagging health issues.*