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Special Cases Of Parallelism


We should follow parallelism principle in certain special cases also. These have been discussed in the following section.

  1. Not… But Construction Needs Parallel Elements

Study the following example.

* Jorge Luis Borges is not just a great writer who can create a great imaginary in the readers, but an influential narrator who can change their outlook forever.

In the above example, after not a noun phrase (a great writer… readers) is used and after but, a parallel noun phrase (an influential narrator… forever) is used. So this sentence is correct from parallelism perspective.

Study the following example and understand how this parallelism principle works.

* The idea of evolution did not spring into being out of whimsical thinking, but took years to evolve after careful observation.

  1. Paired Prepositions, Such as From… to, and Between … and, and Rather than, Also Required Parallel Elements.

Study the following examples in which the paired prepositions are with parallel elements of similar form.

* Most tax reforms are aimed at shifting the focus from stringent punishment for tax evasion to persuasive measures of tax collection.

* Wisdom of action lies in choosing between what you can do and what you should do.

The investors are biased towards domestic investment, not because of possibly lower returns on investments in foreign countries, but because investors have better infomation about domestic markets than about foreign markets.
A. The investors are biased towards domestic investment, not because of possibly lower returns on investments in foreign countries,
B. The investors are biased towards domestic investment, not just because of returns on investment in foreign countries which are likely to be lower
C. Investors’ bias towards domestic investment because of possibly lower returns on investments in foreign countries
D. Investors bias towards domestic investment is not just because of the possibly lower return on investment in foreign countries,
E. Investors bias towards domestic investment is, not because the return on investment in foreign countries is likely to be less,
Explanation: the use of but + because clause in the later part of the sentence requires a parallel because clause after not in the earlier part of the sentence. This is not the case with the sentence and thus, the given sentence is incorrect.
Option A: this option is with parallelism error.
Option B: besides the parallelism error, the sentence contains the modification error; the relative clause, which is to logically modify the noun returns is not present after it.
Option C: this option creates fragment.
Option D: this option is also with parallelism problem.
Option E: correct. This option corrects parallelism problem and removes the modification problem also.



Parallelism – special cases
Correct the underlined parts to maintain parallelism as discussed in this section. Remember, one of the sentences is correct as it is.

  1. The word Baroque, like most other stylistic designations for schools of painting, was invented by later critics, rather than the practitioners of the art during 17th and 18th centuries.
  2. Tōjinbō, a series of surreal, eerie basaltic cliffs by the Sea of Japan, were formed not by erosion as popularly believed, but by the volcanic activity.
  3. The Battle Ship of Potemkin, a silent film directed by Sergei Eisenstein in 1925, is famous, not for its dramatization of a historic event, but it is famous for the special effects created with the limited technology of the day.
  4. Dinosaurs took almost three million years to evolve from mostly four-legged body stature with limitations on vision to body stature which is completely two-legged, which not only enhanced locomotion but also improved the extent of vision.
  5. In 1790, the French government established an election system for the clergy and mandated an oath of loyalty to the Civil Constitution for the priests, resulting in conflict between obedience to the Law as expressed by some clergy and other clergy who were loyal to the Pope who had had, until then, supreme powers.


  1. Rather than by the practitioners. Explanation: Before rather than, the sentence has a by – phrase. To maintain parallelism, we need to use another by – phrase after rather than.
  2. The sentence is correct as it is.
  3. But for. Explanation: After not a for-phrase is used. To maintain parallelism, we need to use another for – phrase.
  4. Completely two-legged body stature. Explanation: From is followed by the noun phrase mostly four-legged body stature. So, to must be followed by a noun phrase similar to it. Besides supplying parallel element, the correction makes the whole expression concise.
  5. Loyalty of other clergy to. Explanation: The conflict is between obedience to the law and loyalty of other clergy to the pope. Thus, we need to change the underlined part accordingly.

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