Sei sulla pagina 1di 4

San Sebastian College - Recoletos de Cavite

1st Semester, SY 2014 2015

EN213: Business Reports & Correspondences


Lecture 9: Parallel Structure
Sentence elements that are alike in function should also be alike in construction. These elements
should be in the same grammatical form so that they are parallel.
Parallel structure means using the same pattern of words to show that two or more ideas have the same
level of importance. This can happen at the word, phrase, or clause level. The usual way to join parallel
structures is with the use of coordinating conjunctions such as "and" or "or."
Words and Phrases
With the -ing form (gerund) of words:
Parallel: Mary likes hiking, swimming, and bicycling.
With infinitive phrases:
Parallel: Mary likes to hike, to swim, and to ride a bicycle. OR Mary likes to hike, swim, and ride
a bicycle.
(Note: You can use "to" before all the verbs in a sentence or only before the first one.)

Do not mix forms.


Example 1
Not Parallel: Mary likes hiking, swimming, and to ride a bicycle.
Parallel: Mary likes hiking, swimming, and riding a bicycle.
Example 2
Not Parallel: The production manager was asked to write his report quickly, accurately, and in a
detailed manner.
Parallel: The production manager was asked to write his report quickly, accurately, and thoroughly.
Clauses
A parallel structure that begins with clauses must keep on with clauses. Changing to another pattern or
changing the voice of the verb (from active to passive or vice versa) will break the parallelism.
Example 1
Not Parallel: The coach told the players that they should get a lot of sleep, that they should not eat
too much, and to do some warm-up exercises before the game.
Parallel: The coach told the players that they should get a lot of sleep, that they should not eat too
much, and that they should do some warm-up exercises before the game.
or
Parallel: The coach told the players that they should get a lot of sleep, not eat too much, and do some
warm-up exercises before the game.
Lists After a Colon
Be sure to keep all the elements in a list in the same form.
Example 1
Not Parallel: The dictionary can be used to find: word meanings, pronunciations, correct spellings, and
looking up irregular verbs.
Parallel: The dictionary can be used to find: word meanings, pronunciations, correct spellings, and
irregular verbs.
With elements joined by coordinating conjunctions (especially and, but, and or.)
Examples: She likes to look but not to listen.
Youll find the light bulbs in the closet or under the kitchen sink.
We wondered who he was and what he was doing here.
With elements being compared.
Examples: How you live your life is just as important as how much money you make.
I like swimming better than diving.
With elements joined by a linking verb or a verb of being.
Examples: What you see is what you get.
To see is to believe.
With elements joined by a correlative conjunction

(either / or

neither / nor

only / but also)

Examples: We were told to either reduce the staff or find new customers.
We would like to buy both a new car and a new house.

both / and

not

San Sebastian College - Recoletos de Cavite


1st Semester, SY 2014 2015

EN213: Business Reports & Correspondences


As young recruits we were told not only what to do but also what to think.

Lecture 6: Avoiding Redundancy


Heres a writing tip to help you to prune unwanted words; avoid redundancy! There are two major
categories of redundant words to look out for: redundant pairs and redundant categories. In both cases,
they are usually superfluous and it is best to leave them out.
Redundant Pairs Tautologies
Many pairs of words imply each other. Finish implies complete, so the phrase completely finish is
redundant in most cases. So are many other pairs of words:

past memories
various differences

end result
final outcome

each individual
basic fundamentals

free gift
past history

true facts
important essentials

unexpected surprise
sudden crisis

future plans
period of time
terrible tragedy
last and final

A related expression that is illogical more than it is redundant is very unique. Since unique
means one of a kind, adding modifiers of degree such as very, so, especially,
somewhat, extremely, is illogical. One-of-a-kind-ness has no gradations; something is
either unique or it is not.

large in size
often times

honest in character
of an uncertain condition

of a bright color
heavy in weight

in a confused state
unusual in nature

period in time
round in shape

extreme in degree
of a strange type

at an early time

Example:
Redundant: During that time period, developing countries overtook industrialised countries in
the production of a certain number of goods of poor quality and low cost.

Redundant Categories
Specific words imply their general categories, so we do not usually have to state both. We know
that a period is a segment of time, that pink is a colour, that shiny is an appearance. In each of
the following phrases, the general category term can be dropped, leaving just the specific
descriptive word:

Concise: This is the final call for passengers on flight 101

Example:
Redundant: This is the last and final call for passengers on flight 101

Concise: During that period, developing countries overtook industrialised countries in the
production of a number of cheap, poor quality goods
Other examples of redundant words:

(absolutely) necessary
(affirmative) yes
alternative (choice)

A.M. (in the morning)


(annual) anniversary
ask (the question)

assemble (together)
(brief) summary
cash (money)

San Sebastian College - Recoletos de Cavite


1st Semester, SY 2014 2015

EN213: Business Reports & Correspondences

circle (around)
collaborate (together)
(component) parts
(current) trend
depreciate (in value)
(favorable) approval
(final) conclusion

(first and) foremost


fly (through the air)
had done (previously)
HIV (virus)
(illustrated) drawing
(knowledgeable)
experts
lag (behind)

later (time)
(local) residents
manually (by hand)
might (possibly)
never (before)
(new) beginning
none (at all)