Parallel Structure
by Writing Center tutor Lisa Geren

Parallel Structure

Sentence elements that are alike in function should also be alike in construction. These elements should be in the same grammatical form.

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Use parallel structure with elements joined by coordinating conjunctions.

Non-parallel: The Writing Center and what its strategies for academic writing help many students.

Parallel: The Writing Center and its strategies for academic writing help many students.

Use parallel structures in a lists or in a series

Not parallel: Students play many sports on campus, like football, basketball, and playing soccer.

Parallel: Students play many sports on campus, like football, basketball, and soccer.

Use parallel structures when elements are being compared.

Non parallel: I like swimming better than to go running.

Parallel: I like swimming better than running.

 

 

Use parallel structure with elements joined by a linking verb or a verb of being

Non-parallel: Reading daily is helpful to write.

Parallel: Reading daily is helpful with writing.

 

 

Use parallel structure with elements joined by a correlative conjunction

Non-parallel: Karen not only wants to go to Hawaii, but also Australia.

Parallel: Karen wants not only to go to Hawaii, but also Australia.

Parallel: Karen wants to only to go to Hawaii, but also to go to Hawaii.