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Faulty Parallelism

 

For a sentence to be parallel, similar elements must be expressed in similar form.

 

 

• When two adjectives modify the same noun, they should have similar forms.

 

Example:

The topology course was both rigorous and a challenge.

 

Since both rigorous and a challenge are modifying course, they should have the same form:

The topology course was both rigorous and challenging.

 

 

• When a series of clauses is listed, the verbs in each clause must have the same form.

 

Example:

During his trip to Europe, the President will discuss ways to stimulate trade, offer

economic aid, and trying to forge a new coalition with moderate forces in Russia.

 

In this example, the first two verbs, discuss and offer, are active. But the third verb in the series, trying, is passive. The form of the verb should be active:

During his trip to Europe, the President will discuss ways to stimulate trade, offer

economic aid, and try to forge a new coalition with moderate forces in Russia.

 

 

• When the first half of a sentence has a certain structure, the second half should preserve that structure.

 

Example:

To acknowledge that one is an alcoholic is taking the first and hardest step to recovery.

 

The first half of the above sentence has an infinitive structure, to acknowledge, so the second half must have a similar structure:

To acknowledge that one is an alcoholic is to take the first and hardest step to recovery.





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