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Faulty Parallelism

Faulty comparison is the problem created when a word is parallel to the wrong element in the sentence, often resulting in illogical sense.


In sentences with faulty parallelism, a phrase/clause, which should have been parallel to a specific phrase/clause, is wrongly parallel to another element. This results in illogical meaning many times.


Look at the following example

* The writer wants to write stories that depict indigenous culture and study the native matrimonial system.

To understand the parallel structure correctly, it is always better to identify the parallel parts and think of two sentences of which the given sentence is made of. After and, the first form of verb (study) is used and the word parallel to it is depict. Thus, whatever that comes before this first element of parallel structure is to be taken as the common element. Now the two sentences that constitute the given sentences are given below.

The writer wants to write stories that depict indigenous culture.

The writer wants to write stories that study the native matrimonial system.

Now study the two sentences. The second sentence is not logical because stories cannot study matrimonial system.


So, though we have used parallel elements, the parallel structure is used in such a way as it gives wrong and illogical meaning. If the word study is made parallel to to-infinitive (to write), then the two sentences that constitute the compound sentence will be as follows.

The writer wants to write stories that depict indigenous culture.

The writer wants to study native matrimonial system.


Now, of the two pairs of sentences we have developed with two different elements, different meanings are possible. Only the second meaning is logical. Thus, the parallelism error should be corrected in the following way.

*The writer wants to write stories that depict indigenous culture and to study the native matrimonial system.

* The Japanese Paleolithic age covers a period starting from around 35000 BC, when the earliest stone tool implements were introduced and were ended around 12000 BC when the last ice age ended.

The verb after the conjunction and is were ended which is parallel to were introduced. This gives the sense that the earliest stone tool implements were ended around 12000 BC. This is not the intended sense as the sentence is talking about when the Japanese Paleolithic age started and when it ended. Thus, the sentence is with faulty parallelism. If it had been ending around, the sense will be that the Japanese Paleolithic period covers a period ending around 12000 BC. Thus, the following is the corrected version of the above sentence.

* The Japanese Paleolithic period covers a period starting from around 35000 BC, when the earliest stone tool implements were introduced and ending around 12000 BC.
 

Example
Controversies about health care focus on access to insurance or tempests like the one that erupted over new mammogram guidelines.
A. tempests like
B. tempests, such as
C. on tempests, like
D. on tempests, such as
E. to tempests, such as
Solution
Explanation: the noun after or is parallel to insurance, giving the sense that controversies about health care focus on access to tempests… guidelines. This results in faulty parallelism. The word tempests should be parallel to access to give logical sense. Thus, Options A, and E are incorrect. The incorrect use of like makes Option C incorrect. So, the best option is Option D.
 

 

Faulty parallelism
Identify the cases of faulty parallelism in the underlined parts and correct them. One of the sentences is correct as it is.

  1. Born into slavery but managing to escape with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826, Sojourner Truth went to court to recover her son and to become the first black woman to win such a case against a white man.
  2. Arthur Canon Doyle, who created the character of Sherlock Holms, decided to end the character because of his opinion that his preoccupation with the character prevented him from paying attention to more important things and wrote historical novels.
  3. The European Monetary Institute, a predecessor of European Central Bank (ECB), was established at the start of the second stage of the EU’s Economic and Monetary Union to handle the transitional issues of the states adopting the Euro and was prepared for the creation of ECB.
  4. Because of the violent volcanic eruption of Mauna Loa, lava entered the Pacific Ocean at Hawaii’s National Park, creating massive steam plumes and adding almost 550 acres of land.
  5. Following the practice of British settlers, who purchased or captured Native Americans to use as forced labor in tobacco cultivation, Native Americans themselves began selling war captives to whites rather than integrated the captives into their own societies.

 Keys

  1. Became. Explanation: the infinitive underlined (to become) is parallel to the infinitive (to recover) giving the sense that she went to court to become the first black woman to win such a case against a white man. This sense is not logical. Thus, the underlined part is with faulty comparison. If we make the underlined part parallel to the verb went, then the sentence gives logical sense.
  2. From writing. Explanation: the underlined verb wrote is parallel to the verb prevented, giving a sense that his preoccupation with the character wrote historical novels. If this underlined word is parallel to paying attention, then the construction gives the logical sense that his preoccupation with the character prevented him from writing historical novels.
  3. To prepare. Explanation: the underlined verb is parallel to the main verb was established, giving a sense that the European Monetary Institute was prepared for the creation of ECB. This sense is not logical. If we make this verb parallel to the infinitive to handle, then the sentence gives the logical sense that the European Monetary Institute was established at the start of the second stage of the EU’s Economic and Monetary Union to prepare for the creation of ECB.
  4. Adding. Explanation: the sentence is correct as it is. The underlined word is parallel to the verbal creating …, giving the sense that lava entered the Pacific Ocean at Hawaii’s National Park, adding almost 550 acres of land. This sense is logical and thus, the sentence is correct as it is.
  5. Integrating. Explanation: in this type of construction with rather than, we need to understand the two actions from which one has been chosen; the two actions are selling war captives and integrating the captives into their own societies. Thus, these two must be parallel. Thus, to maintain parallelism, we need to use the verbalintegrating.




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