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Problems Of Parallelism With Co-Ordinate Conjunctions

The errors of parallelism with coordinating conjunctions are generally related to three areas: use of dissimilar elements, misplacement of correlative conjunctions and wrong inclusion or exclusion of words or phrases. All these problems are discussed below in detail with examples and G-matic examples.

  1. Use of Dissimilar Forms or Elements
    Parallelism usually requires similar forms with coordination conjunctions.

If this principle is violated, the problem of unparallel structure is resulted. Study the following examples and see how the problem is corrected.

* The Chief Executive Officers of high-commitment-high-performance companies are quite different in personalities, backgrounds, and how they lead the companies.

In the above sentence, the coordinating conjunction and is combining personalities, backgrounds and how they lead the companies. The first two parallel elements are nouns, while the last one is a clause. See how the error is corrected in the following sentence by changing the clause into a noun phrase.

* The Chief Executive Officers of high-commitment high-performance companies are quite different in personalities, backgrounds and leadership styles.


Important note: 
however, you should understand that this is not a hard and fast rule. What decides the sentence structure is the logic of the sentence. Sometimes, even though dissimilar forms are connected by these conjunctions, the sentence gives logical sense.

Study the following sentence to understand this concept.

*Shaken by an earthquake and sinking slowly into unstable soil, the Leaning Tower of Pisa began leaning even before completion of its construction.

In the above example, the underlined words are not actually similar, but the dissimilar forms are grammatically required to make the sentence logical.

We can understand this logic by thinking of two independent sentences, combination of which forms the earlier sentence.

*Shaken by an earthquake, the Leaning Tower of Pisa began leaning even before the completion of its construction.

*Sinking slowly into unstable soil, the Leaning Tower of Pisa began leaning even before the completion of its construction.

If you study both the sentences above, you can understand that both sentences are by themselves logically complete. If we change the second sentence for the sake of parallelism, illogical sense is given.

*Sunk slowly into unstable soil, the Leaning Tower of Pisa began leaning even before the completion of its construction.

After changing the form, the sentence gives that sense that the tower was sunk by someone/something. This sense is illogical.
 

Example
Standards for clinical research on humans, clearly spelt out in the 1947 Nuremburg Rules, but compromised frequently in clinical research since then, are now being openly challenged by medical advances unimaginable in those days.
A. compromised frequently in clinical research since then,
B. frequently compromised in clinical research since then,
C. they were compromised frequently since then in clinical research
D. the standards were compromised frequently in clinical research since then
E. clinical research has frequently compromised them since then
Solution
Explanation: the coordinating conjunction but is preceded by a modifier phrase (clearly spelt out …) and the phrase after the conjunction (compromised frequently…) is also a parallel modifier phrase. Thus, the sentence has no parallelism error. However, the position of the adverb frequently is problematic. It may modify the earlier verb compromised or later prepositional phrase in clinical research.
Option A: though the sentence is with parallel elements, the adverbial frequently is with ambiguity in modification.
Option B: correct. This option corrects the problem of modification and uses parallel elements.
All other options contain main clauses, which are not parallel to the modifier phrase before the conjunction but.

 

 

Example
Despite the widespread scholarly opinion that 1920s was a prosperous period for African-Americans in Chicago, documentary evidence proves their experience of chronic unemployment during this period and that they were consistently underpaid.
A. their experience of
B. the experiencing of
C. that they have experienced
D. that they experienced
E. that there was an experience of
Solution
Explanation: the conjunction and in the last part of the sentence is followed by a that clause. thus, the sentence should contain another that clause before the conjunction and. So, the sentence is with parallelism error.
Option A and B: these options have parallelism error.
Option C: though the parallelism error is corrected by using the clause, the use of present perfect to express a past situation is wrong.
Option D: correct. This option uses a subordinate clause correctly to maintain parallelism and correct tense.
Option E: this option, though it maintains parallelism, gives incomplete sense. it is not clear who experienced the chronic unemployment.

 

 

Parallelism coordinating conjunctions
Select the best from among the options given in brackets following the grammar principle discussed in this section.

  1. Besides being a busy natural philosopher, Robert Boyle devoted much time to theology, showing not only a dedicated learning to the practical side of the religion of the day but also ------------- (indifferent/an indifference/showed an indifference) to controversial polemics.
  2. Animals that filter water and feed on the filtered particles, oysters either feed on the pollutants that have been ingested or ------------- (shaped/have shaped/shape) them into small packets that are deposited on the bottom, where they are mostly harmless.
  3. A dietary supplement is a preparation intended to supplement the diet and ------------- (provided/to provide) nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fibers, fatty acids and amino acids, that may be missing in a person’s diet.
  4. The temples of Ancient Egypt were the backbone of the economy; not only were they places of worship, ------------- (but also responsible/ but they were also responsible) for collecting and storing nation’s wealth in a system of granaries and treasuries.
  5. The earth’s magnetic field, caused by internal motions of Earth’s core and also ------------- (created/creating) the magnetosphere, has been crucial for persistence of life on the earth, for the Earth would have lost its atmosphere if there had not been the protective magnetosphere.

 Keys

  1. Besides being a busy natural philosopher, Robert Boyle devoted much time to theology, showing not only a dedicated learning to the practical side of the religion of the day but also an indifference to controversial polemics.
    The correlative conjunction not only is followed by a noun phrase (a dedicated learning) and thus but also should be followed a noun phrase.
  2. Animals that filter water and feed on the filtered particles, oysters either feed on the pollutants that have been ingested or shape them into small packets that are deposited on the bottom, where they are mostly harmless.
    The correlative conjunction either is followed by first form of verb (feed) and thus, we need to use another first form of verb (shape) to maintain parallelism.
  3. A dietary supplement is a preparation intended to supplement the diet and to provide nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fibers, fatty acids and amino acids, that may be missing in a person’s diet.
    The dietary supplement is with two intended purposes: to supplement the diet and to provide nutrients that may be missing in person’s diet. So we need to use to provide after the conjunction and. Use of provided results in shift of tense as it is the main verb.
  4. The temples of Ancient Egypt were the backbone of the economy; not only were they places of worship, but they were also responsible for collecting and storing nation’s wealth in a system of granaries and treasuries.
    After the conjunction not only, a main clause is used and thus we need to use another main clause after but also.
  5. The earth’s magnetic field, caused by internal motions of Earth’s core and creating the magnetosphere, has been crucial for persistence of life on the earth, for the Earth would have lost its atmosphere if there had not been the protective magnetosphere.
    Though you may be tempted to use created, which is parallel to caused, the correct form is creating. Because the earth’s magnetic field is creating magnetosphere, not created by anything.

Misplacement of Correlative Conjunctions

We should place the coordinating or correlative conjunctions at right positions.

Otherwise, the violation of parallelism principle is resulted. This problem is more probable with correlative conjunctions given in the above list.


Study the following examples and see how the errors of this kind are corrected by changing the word order.

* The government in the country is either lax in tax collection or the tax payers there make use of the loopholes in tax collection system.


When we see any sentence with paired conjunction, we should compare the words present after the paired
conjunctions. In the above example, either is followed by lax, an adjective and or is followed by the tax payers, a noun phrase. Because these two elements are not parallel, we can understand that there is a parallelism problem.


To correct this, you should identify the error by writing the given sentence into two sentences and by identifying both common and non-common elements of those two sentences.


In the example, the two sentences that form the above sentence are given below.

The government in the country is lax in tax collection.

The tax payers there make use of the loopholes in the tax collection system.


To correct this, either…or must be placed before the two non-common elements. In this sentence, whole sentences happen to be non-common elements. So, we should use either … or before them. So the corrected sentence is this.

*Either the government in the country is lax or the tax payers there are pretty aware of loopholes in tax collection system.

Now apply the same strategy and identify how the below example is corrected in two versions.

* Not only are the innovations in an economy’s growth potential important driving forces in business cycles but also sometimes crucial factors in defining the very business cycles.

* The innovations in an economy’s growth potential are not only important driving forces in business cycles but also crucial factors in defining these very business cycles.

* Not only are the innovations in an economy’s growth potential important driving forces in business cycles but also these innovations are sometimes crucial factors in defining the very business cycles.
 

Example
An entrepreneurial approach allows not only social organizations to maximize value from limited resources, but also to leverage resources beyond the organization’s direct control through a creation of networks.
A. not only social organizations to maximize
B. not only social organizations that maximize
C. social organizations not only maximizing
D. social organizations not only to maximize
E. social organizations to maximize not only
Solution
Explanation: as but also is followed by a to infinitive, not also should be followed by another to infinitive to maintain parallel structure. Only option D satisfies this and thus is the correct option.

 

 

Example
As technology has become of great importance to both individual citizens and to society, it has become crucial to understand technology’s relationship to the society it serves.
A. As technology has become of great importance to both individual citizens and
B. Technology having been greatly important to both individual citizens and
C. As technology has become of great importance both to individual citizens and
D. Technology has become greatly important to both individual citizens and
E. Technology being greatly important to not only individual citizens but also
Solution
Explanation: as the correlative conjunction and is followed by a to + a noun, the corresponding both should also be followed by a similar form. Though a to phrase is present, the position of both makes the sentence violate this rule.
Option A: this option misplaces both resulting in violation of parallelism.
Option B: this option misplaces both. Besides this error, the participle phrase at the beginning of the sentence uses perfect participle (technology having been…) in the absolute phrase, giving an illogical sense that technology was important in the past.
Option C: correct. this option follows parallelism with the correlative conjunction both … and. It also establishes the required causal connection by using correct conjunction.
Option D: the option does not have the required conjunction to connect the main clauses. This is an error of comma splice. Parallelism is not maintained with the correlative conjunction.
Option E: though the initial absolute phrase is correctly used, the positioning of the correlative conjunction results in misplacement of not only.

 

 

Correlative conjunctions
Correct the following sentences by correctly placing the correlative conjunctions. You may need to make additional changes to facilitate this placement. Remember, one of the sentences is correct as it is.

  1. Virtually single-handedly, Isadora Duncan elevated the dance not only to new heights of attaining a new school status but also traced the art back to its roots as a sacred art.
  2. At Institute of High Pressure Physics in Warsaw was developed an important part of Blue Ray technology which is not only with a structural quality at least 10000 times better than that of the earlier technology but also which has a life time twice more than that of the earlier technology.
  3. Scholars of social psychology, an interdisciplinary specialization, are typically either psychologists or sociologists, although all social psychologists employ both the individual as their units of analysis and the group.
  4. A perennial controversy about the role of Freud’s psychoanalysis in the development of Gender Studies as a distinct discipline is whether Freud’s sexist views on feminine impeded the development as alleged by his critics or his theory was vital to feminist project and must, like other theoretical traditions, be adopted by women to free it from vestiges of sexism.
  5. Neither is atomic energy the feasible solution for the ever-growing demand of energy, it was nor practical because of the inherent risks of fuel exposure or dangerous effluents.

Keys

  1. Virtually single-handedly, Isadora Duncan not only elevated the dance to new heights of attaining a new school status but also traced the art back to its roots as a sacred art.
     
    But also is followed by a verb and thus, to maintain parallelism, even not only should be followed by a verb. Hence the correction.
  2. At Institute of High Pressure Physics in Warsaw was developed an important part of Blue Ray technology which is not only with a structural quality at least 10000 times better than that of the earlier technology but also with a life time twice more than that of the earlier technology.
    In the first part of the sentence, not only is followed by a prepositional phrase and thus the correlative but also should be followed by such a phrase. Thus, the underlined relative clause is changed into a prepositional phrase.
  3. Scholars of social psychology, an interdisciplinary specialization, are typically either psychologists or sociologists, although all social psychologists employ both the individual and the group as their units of analysis.
    Even though the elements after both… and are parallel, the positioning of and the group is problematic. They employ both the individual and the group as their units of analysis. To give this sense, the phrase as… analysis must be present after the second element of parallelism. Thus, the phrase and the group is moved to the middle position after phrase both the individual.
  4. A perennial controversy about the role of Freud’s psychoanalysis in the development of Gender Studies as a distinct discipline is whether Freud’s sexist views on feminine impeded the development as alleged by his critics or his theory was vital to feminist project and must, like other theoretical traditions, be adopted by women to free it from vestiges of sexism.
    In this sentence, whether is followed by a clause and so is the conjunction or. This sentence requires no correction.
  5. Neither is atomic energy the feasible solution for the ever-growing demand of energy, nor was it practical because of the inherent risks of fuel exposure or dangerous effluents.
    The correlative neither is followed by a main clause. so, after nor too, a main clause is required. However, as nor a negative word put before the subject, the subject-verb inversion is also needed.

Wrong inclusion or Exclusion of Words or Phrases

While using coordinating or correlative conjunctions, we should not repeat the words unnecessarily or avoid necessary words.


Study the following sentences to understand this concept of wrong inclusion

* Martin has been quite clever and has been quite industrious.

This sentence is actually a coordination of two different sentences.

Martin has been quite clever.

Martin has been quite industrious.

When we are combining these two, we need to identify the common elements and non-common elements. Only two words (clever and industrious) are non-common. Thus, the concise combination will be the following one.

* Martin has been quite clever and industrious.

If we look at the first sentence, we can understand that has been after and is repeated unnecessarily and thus, is redundant grammatically. So the above incorrect sentence exemplifies the wrong inclusion of words, resulting in redundancy.

Study the following sentence to understand the concept of wrong exclusion.

* Archaeologists, both now and then, did not have conclusive evidence regarding the correct location of the grave of
Alexander the Great.

If we look at sentence, we can understand that the words after both… and are parallel. However, to know whether the sentence is correct from parallelism perspective, it is always better to think of the two independent sentences.

Archaeologists now do not have conclusive evidence regarding the correct location of the grave of Alexander the Great.

Archaeologists then did not have conclusive evidence regarding the correct location of the grave of Alexander the Great.

If we compare these two sentences with the original sentence, we can understand that the present time expressed by now requires present tense verb do not have and that the past tense implied by then requires past tense verb did not have. We can easily understand that the present tense verb is missing. This is an instance of wrong exclusion of non-common part. Thus, the sentence can be corrected in the following way.

* Archaeologists now do not, and then did not, have conclusive evidence regarding the correct location of the grave of Alexander the Great.
 

Example
The recent discovery of color producing chemicals in the fossils may allow scientists not only to reconstruct ancient birds more accurately but also they may be able to determine some of the colors on them as well.
A. they may be able to determine some of the colors on them as well.
B. it is possible to determine some of the colors on them as well.
C. to determine some of the colors on them.
D. to determine some colors as well that were present on them.
E. to determine some colors that were present on them.
Solution
Explanationafter not only, to form is used. We need to have another to form after but also. There is a problem of redundancy by the repetition of subject and verb after but also. As well is redundant. Thus, the given sentence is incorrect as it is.
Option A: the given sentence is wrong because of grammatical redundancy and absence of parallelism
Option B: besides the parallelism problem, the problem of redundancy (the use of as well along with not only… but also) is present.
Option C: correct. This is the best option as it corrects all the above problems.
Option D: the problem of redundancy with as well is not solved. The use of relative clause in the place of modifier phrase results in wordiness.
Option E: though the parallelism problem is corrected, the use of relative clause in the place of phrase makes it wordy.

 

 

Example
The author’s new historical novel is basically the story of a semi-successful middle-aged European king trying and mostly his failure in preparing the society for the introduction of democratic system even during 15th century.
A. and mostly his failure in preparing
B. but he failed mostly in preparing
C. and he mostly failed to prepare
D. but he failed mostly to prepare
E. but mostly failing to prepare
Solution
ExplanationIn the given sentence, after and we have a noun phrase his failure, but before the conjunction, ing form functioning as adjective is present. These two are not parallel. Thus, the given sentence has parallelism error. Furthermore, trying before and needs a to-infinitive (to + first form of verb). This is also absent.
Option A: the noun phrase (his failure) after the conjunction and is not parallel to the participle phrase (trying) before the conjunction. Moreover, the grammatical construction requires a to-infinitive after trying.
Option B: after the conjunction but, an independent clause which is not parallel to trying is present. So, the parallelism problem is persistent and required to infinitive is also absent.
Option C: though the problem of infinitive is solved, parallelism problem is still present in this
option.
Option D: the parallelism error is not corrected. The position of mostly makes the description ambiguous. It is not clear whether it is modifying failed or to write.
Option E: Correct. This option corrects parallelism as well as infinitive problems.


 

Wrong inclusions and exclusions
Study the following sentences focusing on the underlined parts and correct the errors of wrong inclusion or wrong exclusion discussed in this section.

  1. In ice mountaineering, ski crampons, attachments to footwear that have metal parts to provide traction on ice, are more common in the Alps than they are in the US.
  2. The specifics of what the paleo-Indians of North America were interested and subsisted on has been a point of speculation rather than of scientific inference.
  3. The findings from a historical analysis of the car industry in the country from 1990 to 2000 indicate that the manufacturing units clustered in one or two states led the industry in innovation but they later failed to respond innovatively to competition from hybrid car technology.
  4. Adaptation, an evolutionary process in which a population becomes better fit to the habitat, takes place only over a long period and one of the basic phenomena of biology.
  5. In the early 1910s, the health profession of occupational therapy was in incipient stages and aimed at promoting health in ‘invalids’ only.

 Keys

  1. In ice mountaineering, ski crampons, attachments to footwear that have metal parts to provide traction on ice, are more common in the Alps than in the US.
     
    The use of they are after the conjunction than is redundant as the subject is already given in the first part of the sentence. If you remember, things compared should be in parallel form. Thus, in the Alps is parallel to in the US.
  2. The specifics of what the paleo-Indians of North America were interested in and subsisted on has been a point of speculation rather than of scientific inference.
     
    Interested should be followed by the preposition in, which is absent in the given sentence. Thus, this sentence is a case of wrong exclusion. We can correct the sentence by inserting the missing word. You can easily answer this question by developing two sentences and by identifying common and non-common words.
  3. The findings from a historical analysis of the car industry in the country from 1990 to 2000 indicate that the manufacturing units clustered in one or two states led the industry in innovation but later failed to respond innovatively to competition from hybrid car technology.
    As the subject manufacturing… states is applicable to the predicate present after but, using it again is redundant and thus, the sentence can be corrected by removing the redundant subject they.
  4. Adaptation, an evolutionary process in which a population becomes better fit to the habitat, takes place only over a long period and is one of the basic phenomena of biology.
     
    The sentence tells us two things about adaptation; its taking place over a long period and its being one of the basic phenomena. To give this sense, we need to use is after and. Otherwise, the sentence gives illogical sense.
  5. In the early 1910s, the health profession of occupational therapy was in incipient stages and was aimed at promoting health in ‘invalids’ only.
    The sentence combines two main clauses; the health profession of occupational therapy was in incipient stages and the health profession of occupational therapy was aimed at promoting health in ‘invalids’ only. Though was is used in the earlier part, it is a main verb while the was required in the later part is a helping verb. Thus, we need to repeat the helping verb after and.





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