Non-Academic

What Is Faulty Parallelism?

Have you heard of faulty parallelism? Probably not. But it does not mean you’re not committing it.

Faulty parallelism is a sentence error that is NOT unusual but usually not easily noticed. You might not even know you’re committing this mistake already. However, its results can be disturbing, because faulty parallelism can confuse your readers.

Also, committing faulty parallelism makes your writing structure inconsistent.

So this easy-to-read blog article will not only teach you what faulty parallelism is, but we will also show you how to correct it.

To begin with, what is parallelism

It is the placement of equal ideas in words, phrases or clauses.

So what is faulty use of parallelism?

This is the error in writing wherein ideas of equal importance are not written in uniform grammar structures.

Faulty Parallelism: The waiter suggested lamb chops, green beans and that we try the sweet potatoes.

SO WHAT IS SO WRONG WITH THE SENTENCE ABOVE?

The direct objects in the sentence above are not parallel: the first two are nouns, while the third is a noun clause.

AND HOW TO CORRECT THIS?

Revise the noun clause into direct object nous.

Corrected Sentence: The waiter suggested lamb chops, green beans, and sweet potatoes.

And what is the correct use of parallelism?

First, parallelism is important for making comparisons of series of ideas that are of equal importance. This can be done through uniform grammatical structures.

Second, these grammatical structures for example are two or more words of the same part of speech, or two or more phrases of the same type, or two or more same clauses.

Third, coordinating conjunctions like and or or are helpful to establish connection between parallel structures.

For Example

Parallel Words: The teacher liked the presentation of the students because they are social, educational and financial.

Parallel Phrases: She loves to scuba dive in the ocean and to water ski at the lake.

Parallel Clauses: My sister received a gift labeled with “from anonymous”, we were puzzled what was in the box, where it came from, who had sent it, why it had not been unwrapped.

The examples below show that conjunctions may be removed for clarity (omitted words are written in brackets):

Parallel Phrases: You can establish a healthy lifestyle by eating properly, [by] sleeping regularly, and [by] exercising daily.

Parallel Phrases: You can establish a basic healthy lifestyle by eating properly, [by] sleeping regularly, and [by] exercising daily.

Now… HOW to revise sentences with faulty parallelism?

WRONG SENTENCES CORRECT SENTENCES
Nouns and Phrase Nouns
The qualities of a good law enforcement officer are loyalty, honesty, and being brave. The qualities of a good law enforcement officer are loyalty, honesty, and bravery.
Adverbs and Phrase Adverbs
A well-trained service dog obeys willingly, completely and with speed. A well-trained dog obeys willingly, completely, and quickly.
Verbs and Clause Verbs
The department members analysed, discussed and we raised questions about the new rules. The department members analysed, discussed and questioned the new rules.
Gerund and Infinitive Phrases Gerund Phrases
It is preferable if you exercise balance in life in terms of doing your chores, enjoying leisure time, and to think of others. It is preferable if you exercise balance in life in terms of doing your chores, enjoying leisure time, and thinking of others.
Prepositional Phrases and Verb with Complement Prepositional Phrases
They traveled to New York, to Puerto Rico and visited Mexico. They traveled to New York, to Puerto Rico and to Mexico.
Participial Phrase and Clause Participial Phrases
Conor decided to leave the company believing in his own talent and he desired progress. Conor decided to leave the company believing in his own talent and desiring progress.
Adjective and Adverb Clauses Adjective Clauses
She makes calculated decisions in life, she goes for things that are worthy and if she thinks she will succeed. She makes calculated decisions in life, she goes for things that are worthy and that she thinks she will succeed.

There you go! So make sure you carefully structure your sentences and be mindful of faulty parallelism!

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